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ask about the telephone line and broadband, here countryside you can't always have internet, phone line isn't good enough quality,
ask in any services are shared,
ask if there are any yearly fees, or charges, any maintenance charges for anything.
check what neighbours have done to their properties up and down the road, as immediate neighbour may be given the go ahead for an extension,
any mature trees, any trees how ever old ask if there are preservation orders,
I never let a client buy a house until I know what state the drains are in, because a lot of insurance companies have a clause on the insurance so if a problem develops with the drains within so many weeks of the policy being taken out, they don't pay out, I's more of an issue with period properties,
ask where all drains run, ask where all man hole covers are, they get buried under plants and gravel.
carry a pad take lots of notes, if you are allowed take photos., go through each room very slowly, and look at every nook and cranny.
when you arrive stand outside, take your time to have a really good look,look at all the houses in the street, have they had dormer windows fitted, extensions, are they well maintained? what problems can you see going on, building of the same design can show you where future problems lie
Start at the top, look along the ridge of the roof, it should be in perfect condition, look closely the whole roof, look at the chimney, guttering,fascia board,windows, look for cracks, look for bulges, look for damp, look for imperfection, it will give you a good idea how well the property has been maintained, before you go in and get dazzled by the dressing.
ask when the boiler, electrics were installed, ask if they have had any problems and what was done to fix them, check the flooring, check all around the windows carefully, look at the fuse box, is it new? check the how many plug sockets there are in each room, look carefully at the finishings, how the floors have been laid, how the tiling has been done, if the bits you can see are rough, they didn't do a proper job where you can't see.
ask if there are any dispute, problem neighbours, noisy neighbours, dogs,
get your compass out, down load an app, find out where south is, so you know how much light you will get,
ask about drainage, ask if they know where all the sewer pipes run, how old they are, how old are the windows if they are double glazed, have they been carefully maintained if they are wood,
buy a large scale OS map of the area, have a very good look at it, it amazing how close to sewage works houses are, don't just rely on google earth,
visit the property at odd times of day and through out a week, is it a rat run, what parking like,
carry a long heavy duty tape measure (50p builders merchants) measure out where furniture and beds might go.
you can change most things about house, except it's location, if you want quite, choose a dead end road,
go into local shops, pubs get a real feel for the place.
I spend a lot of time looking at houses for clients, I suggest you take someone who is not emotionally involved to look at any real contenders, ask them to play devils advocate,
make some very clear lists of your wants, in order of importance, and also a list of deal breakers, it good to have a reminder when you get drawn in,
and speak to the neighbours, it really worth doing this before you go too far down the line, it's amazing what you find out.
check on the local council planning site for planning applications, present and past, is the neighbour going to build something,
check they haven't used any dodgy sealant on the building, to deal with damp problems, or dodgy non breathable paint, check they haven't had the inside of the roof sprayed to seal it, or had the dodgy coating on the outside,
check they haven't done anything stupid and filled the cavity walls,
check on line the post code, check who sold where and when, any clusters check why,
take lots of time on second and third visits to take lots of notes about concerns,
look at ceilings, look above internal doors, on both sides for cracks,
and use your nose, if something smells odd, there is a reason.
have a good wander round, work out if the layout and rooms work for you. Which way does it face? Does it get light and sun? What are the neighbours like? Is there anything that would annoy you that can't be changed? (I saw a house with a tiny kitchen and all the windows too low so you had to bend down to see out!) And the big one - why are they moving?
second viewing: bills, state of repair (be your own surveyor before you pay for one), age of boiler etc, what would be left, does stuff work etc etc.
visit at different times of day and different days of the week; you don't have to go inside to find out if it is blocked solid by the school run, next to a night club, in a prostitution zone, next to a sewage works and so on.
On the first time round, you just need to get a good feel of the place, imagine your stuff in the various rooms, would you feel at home in that house and that area? The second one is the more practical in terms of looking for issues that might affect the price of the house.