1. Ask about certified heating
Nothing can ruin a cosy winter evening like your heating giving up the ghost. If spending the first winter in your new home wearing ski jackets in bed sounds unappealing then it’s important to make sure that the property you have your eye on comes with certified heating.
Most houses with gas heating systems are subject to annual boiler inspections. So don’t be afraid to ask the estate agent if you can have a peep at the boiler. Check the sticker to see when the last inspection was. No sticker is a bit of a red flag – so ask for a certificate.
2. Be on the lookout for mould
Get a slight waft of damp? Or did small black spots on the ceiling catch your eye?
Unfortunately this is a sign of mould. If you employ a surveyor, they’ll be able to point out most of the structural issues contributing to the damp. But a home that isn’t well ventilated may have spots that the surveyor doesn’t report.
Fixing mould related issues can be expensive, so check behind the curtains and stick your nose in the under-stairs cupboard to determine if it might be an issue.
3. Test the water pressure
Water pressure is essential for a good shower. Getting dribbled on is no way to start the day. Turn on the shower and see if it’s to your liking. If not, you may have to spend a good chunk of change getting it fixed.
4. Understand your full costs by accounting for renovation
Many folks make the mistake of bidding on houses that appear to be within budget but forget to factor in renovations. The total cost may turn out to be far higher than they had planned to spend.
For example, if you spot a house for €350K in a nice part of town where similar houses sell for €400k, you might be tempted to jump on it. But factor in the price needed to get it up to modern standards and your total bill is €50K more than the other houses on the street.
Make sure you have a very clear picture of what you’re willing to spend, including all of the work required to get your property into the condition you want it in.
5. Explore the neighbourhood
After your viewing, make sure to spend a little time strolling up and down the streets surrounding the property. It’ll give you a better feel for what it’s like to live in that neck of the woods.
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for unsightly rubbish, bedraggled gardens and untrained dogs barking. Have an idea of your limits and don’t settle for less.
If you’re feeling cheeky, why not approach someone on the street or in a café and ask them about the area? Friendly enough folk will provide valuable insight into what it’s like to live there.