Moving house is a stressful experience, but you can easily minimise the worry by making some plans in advance when you are looking for a suitable property to buy. Thinking ahead will save you realising when it’s too late that there are points you should have checked, and questions you should have asked. Have a look at these points to consider when you are looking to move.
Choose Your Location
The area in which you propose to buy will be dictated by a number of factors – jobs, schools, family commitments and so on. But there is a degree of choice, which you should consider carefully before you start thinking seriously about moving.
Do you want a peaceful area, or are you OK if there is some neighbourhood noise? Drive around the area you are considering at different times of the day and night to get a feel for things like traffic flow, potentially noisy areas, any late night pubs or clubs or meeting places. If the road near your potential property is near a school, the roads become a ‘rat run’ for cars, or a parking nightmare at both ends of the school day?
Have a look if there are shops nearby. Convenient certainly, but maybe a magnet for local teenagers to hang around in the evenings. The same applies for parks and playgrounds – great if you have children, not so great if they are populated by noisy gangs until the early hours.
Check Your Road Or Street
If you like the look of a property and you are thinking of viewing, it makes good sense to have a good look at the houses and people who are going to be living near to you.
Do the people in houses nearby spend a lot of time sitting outside? That could indicate a lot of evening and weekend noise with radios, children, dogs and so on.
Have a look at cars coming and going, and see who is driving. Lots of young drivers may mean late night arrivals with loud stereos, revving engines and slamming doors.
Be aware of a large number of older residents, especially if you have children yourself – you don’t want a barrage of complaints about your children playing out, even if they are well behaved.
The Property Itself
You’ve checked out the area, and the road, now it’s time to have a good look at the house itself. This is where you could be living, so don’t rush your viewing, and have some basic questions ready to ask the current owners. If everything is OK, they’ll be happy to answer any queries you have, if they are evasive, that’s a warning sign. Here are the Top Ten Fundamental Questions you should ask as you go round your potential new home.
- Why are the owners moving? It may be a reason similar to yours, but it shows you are keen to find out something about them and the property.
- What are the neighbours like? If the owners claim not to know them, try and have a peep into their garden as you view – is it tidy, no piles or rubbish, garden looked after, no large dog kennel on view?
- Are there any neighbourhood disputes? The law means that if you ask, your potential sellers are obliged to advise you of any ongoing disputes.
- Can you see into any of the surrounding houses? If you can, that means they can see into yours.
- Are there any rights of access across or near your property? You need to know if you could have people tramping past your windows at all hours.
- Re-visit several times, including evenings so you can hear if there is any excess noise from the neighbours. If the property is semi-detached, knock on a connecting wall. If someone knocks back it means they can hear you, and may react to any noise you make.
- Is there clear access for cars, and adequate parking? Do you share a drive? You need to be clear about who can park where, and who is responsible for maintenance.
- Ask about Council Tax and Utility bills – an average figure for running costs is a reasonable request.
- Are there any building proposals near you? What is a nice field at the bottom of the garden now could be a thousand-house estate in five years, so ask and find out.
- Finally, go with your instincts. If you feel there is something not right about the property, even if you can’t pin down what it is – look elsewhere, your instinct is probably correct.
Take the stress out of moving. With some advance planning and the right questions, you can avoid nasty surprises, and enjoy your new home with confidence.