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Top tips for homebuyers

Patrick Christys
Mar 18, 2019


If you're thinking of buying a new home, then now might be a good time.

Brexit has seen property prices (largely) stagnate, and many sellers will be desperate to get rid just in case things get even slower for the next couple of years.

So your low-ball offer may be more appealing than it was before!

But just because it's a good time to be a homebuyer doesn't mean that you won't end up making a very expensive mistake if you aren't smart about your purchase.

Georgina Burnett, the UK-based guru known as The Home Genie on Instagram, has published some top tips for people thinking of getting on the property ladder or just moving house.

TAP THE WALL

Georgina, in her new book: The Street-Wise Guide to Buying, Improving and Selling Your Home, writes: "If you're looking to improve a property, sometimes opening it up can modernise and make it seem larger and lighter.

"It's also desirable for the bulk of today's home-buyers to have an open-plan style. A really easy and cost effective way of doing this is by simply knocking down stud walls, usually added by previous generations.

"Tapping the wall to hear if there's a hollow sound will tell you if the wall is weight bearing or not."

STAMP YOUR FEET

Stomping around a property will tell you a lot about the flooring.

It helps you work out if "there might be some original floorboards under the carpet", which could save some extra cash and actually add a nice feature.

LOOK OUT THE WINDOW

Properties without double-glazing could cost a lot to heat up - and properties with condensation will need new windows soon, which is an additional cost.

Make sure you check how recent the double glazing is, and also if there's any rotten window frames or gaps that will need work.

Georgina urges people to ask if they come with the appropriate certificates, and when they were installed.

Also make sure you check the roof thoroughly as this can be a "very expensive thing to correct".

She advises people to look out for cement tiles, which are "incredibly heavy" and can "actually cause sagging".

A builder's opinion is a worthwhile investment, too.

SCAN FOR DAMP

Damp is a biggy.

Damp in a property will only spread unless it's tackled at the source. It can also have serious implications for anyone suffering from respiratory problems. 

Georgina explains: "Look out for mould, flaking plaster, bubbling wallpaper and watermarks on walls and ceilings. It's not necessarily a reason not to buy, but should be a big consideration when negotiating.

"It's worth finding a builder you feel you can trust to help identify warning signs and how much any problems are likely to cost to fix. They will often give you half an hour of their time for free as there is potential work for them in the near future. Even a small fee is worth paying if it helps you to understand the cost of doing up the property before you make your offer."

Just because a property appears to be good value for money and you like the look of it initially, it doesn't mean you should jump in with both feet.

Always analyse every single element of it with a critical eye and make sure you don't end up paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for a house that's going to cost you thousands more as soon as you move in.

And once you've got a property, you'll need home insurance.

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