When you’re buying a new home, you’re essentially investing in a lifestyle. So not only do you want to check if the property is structurally sound, and free from damp and leaks, you’ll also want to consider how the home and its location will impact your life on a daily basis.
Here are some key things to look for when buying a home:
1. THE LAYOUT
When you’re walking through the home or looking over the floorplans, imagine your daily routine and how you would move through the home. Are the hallways and connecting spaces between rooms a good size? Do you feel you can walk through the home comfortably?
You’ll also want to consider how the indoor connects to the outdoor. Is there a hallway or porch between the main living spaces and the front of the home? And how does the living space connect to the garden? Having French doors leading out into the garden space from a main living area such as the kitchen or lounge are not only great for bringing in natural light; they extend the room out into the garden.
2. ROOM SIZE
This may seem an obvious one, but many people don’t consider this to be as important as it is. Not only do the rooms need to be spacious enough to allow you to fit belongings and furniture in, but they also don’t want to be so large that you feel you’re rattling around in them. If the ceiling is too high and the floorspace is too vast, you’ll find it lacks the cosy and comforting feel of a home.
The best way to determine if a room is the ideal size is to map out on the floorplan what furniture you have or intend to buy for the room and where you would position it. You can then see what extra furniture you’d need to fill any empty spaces and you’ll get a feel for how you will be able to move around the room.
3. NATURAL LIGHT
The placement of windows and doors, and their size, impact the amount of natural light that flows into the room. Window placement and size isn’t an easy or cheap thing to amend later on, so you’ll want to make sure you’re happy with this before you buy.
It’s advisable to visit the home several times on days with different weather forecasts (visit on a sunny day, a rainy day and a cloudy day if possible) and at different times of day, so you can see how the natural light changes.
4. NORTH OR SOUTH FACING
The positioning of the home and the rooms within the home will impact the natural light within and the amount of the sun that the garden benefits from in the warmer months.
South facing gardens are very popular, but you’ll also want to consider which rooms are at the back of the home as these will have the sun on them all day during the summer, which can make them a hot box.
If you’re buying an older home, you will want to consider how new the heating system is and how often it has been serviced. The energy efficiency rating of the heating system will give you an indication of how it will impact your utility costs. If you’re buying a new home, the heating system will be brand new and highly energy efficient, but you may also want to consider what technology upgrades the home builders offers to control your heating.
6. THE KITCHEN
Although you can change the kitchen when you move, it’s quite an expensive job and might not be one you want to undertake straight away, so it’s important that the current kitchen works with your lifestyle.
You also need to consider what the possibilities are when you do eventually come to invest in a new kitchen. Does the size and layout of the space suit your future plans and are the water, gas and electric connection points in the right places for what you want?
Where are the appliances located in the home and is there enough space for the appliances you want? A utility room allows you to hide noisy appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers away from the main living space and helps to keep the home tidy as you have a separate space for doing chores.
Are the appliances in the home integrated? This could be beneficial in the short term as these will remain in the home when you buy. However, it’s important to consider the age and energy efficiency rating on these appliances, as some may be ready for replacing if the home is old. If you prefer free-standing appliances, such as a large American-style fridge freezer, consider where in the current kitchen layout this could go.
8. THE BATHROOMS
Another important factor, particularly for a growing family or a couple looking to buy for the future, is the number of and size of the bathrooms in the home. Adding a new bathroom can work out expensive, so it’s important to choose a property that already suits your needs, not just now but in the future.
With most households having at least two cars, parking is a key consideration when buying a home. If the home comes with a garage and/or driveway, check the floorplans to determine how many cars the space fits and if it is wide enough for the model of car you own.
If a driveway or garage isn’t part of the home, you’ll need to consider what on street parking is available. Is there enough room on the street for the number of cars your household owns? Is the road wide enough to park safely? Is the parking on the street permitted or restricted at certain times?
10. THE LOCAL AREA
You’re likely to have already researched the location, but have you looked in great detail? If you’re moving with children or planning a family in your new home in the future, check the local schools and what their most recent Ofsted report says, and check that they have capacity for new pupils.
Also, take a drive around the local area and see how close you are to amenities such as supermarkets, parks, gyms, entertainment such as cinema, theatre and places to eat and drink. Visit some of the local haunts and speak to people who already live in the area to get an honest view of life there.
Transport is also a key factor when it comes to location. How close is your home to a bus route and where is the nearest train station? What routes run to and from these stops? And how far are the closest motorway and A road links?