What should I look for before making an offer?
Your mind’s almost made up. You’re pretty certain you’ve found ‘the one’. They’re even letting you keep those floral light fittings you love. Now what? Jump in and make an offer? Hold your horses…
There are a number of things you should do before submitting your offer to ensure you don’t end up making one of the worst, potentially most expensive decisions of your life. (No pressure, then.)
By focusing on a few key areas, you can prepare yourself for potential issues and highlight any areas you’d like your surveyor to investigate. It’s important you feel as confident as possible that you’re doing the right thing.
The more times you get to see the property yourself, the better. Before making an offer, you’ll ideally be quite familiar with the house. Ask questions, take photos, measure up to make sure your furniture fits and have a quiet snoop around. That is, check for hidden damp, cracks and make sure all the appliances you need are there – and in working order – if you’re paying extra to keep them.
Find out the age and condition of the property’s boiler. It might not necessarily be a deal breaker for you, but it can cost upwards of £2,000 to install a new one. These things are good to know.
You might be happy living with a dated kitchen or a shabby bathroom for a bit, but for how long? Work out the potential costs of having major upgrades and bear it in mind for the future – especially if you know some things aren’t working as they should.
Have a look to see if the property is double glazed and how old the windows are. If there’s visible cloud or mist (no, not the weather) then the seals may have blown. As with most large items in a house, windows can be costly to replace.
Check that there’s heating in every room – especially the kitchen, bathrooms and smaller rooms with tiled floors. Rust and stain may indicate water leaks…
Storage space is often overlooked. While you’re checking to see if the rooms are as big as you imagined, don’t forget to spot the storage potential. It’s the boring things that make a difference. Where will your vacuum cleaner and ironing board go? What about your spare linen? Those boxes of junk you don’t use but really ‘must’ keep?
Any uncertainty about who owns a garden, parking space or shared pathway must be resolved before you make an offer – preferably in writing – it’ll save a lot of headaches down the line. Also find out if the property can be extended – and if it’s listed. In some cases restrictive covenants prevent buildings from being modified.
The most important point on our list is to get a survey. You may not like the idea of forking out for one, but in the long run the expense could pale into insignificance if your surveyor ends up saving you a small fortune.
Using their expertise, they’ll be able to give you a considered opinion on the value of the property, let you know if there are any problem areas and tell you whether it’s worth the asking price. They’ll also let you know whether to walk away if there’s anything major that can’t be resolved…
The material contained in this document is for information purposes only and does not constitute advice.
You should obtain relevant legal or other advice if you are unsure about the effect on you of any matter in this document.
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