Things to think about when buying a house

There are lots of things that attract us to the house we buy. We visualise our future in it, in the dining room where we will clink glasses and dine with friends; the lounge where we will sit by a warm fire and drink gluhwein and talk about our day with our loved ones. The garden where we will play games with our children until the sun sets. We aren’t buying a house, we are buying memories. That is why, when the agent shows us what’s on the market, we narrow down our search by deciding on what value adds are important, what are fundamental requirements and what are the luxury extras that are not a must. But, before making the final decision, put aside your romantic ideas and check out a couple of important things that you need to ensure you’ve considered.

Old houses hold a sense of history and dated beauty. They are often built very well and have stood the test of time. But, there are built in days gone by and the repercussions of this need to be evaluated. Are there custom windows or enormous windows? If so, these will be a lot costlier if they crack or break and you need to replace them.

Do you need to do home improvements?

While the house you end up buying may tick many of the boxes, such as price, size and location, it may need some upgrades. Common places that people like to modernise are the kitchen and the bathrooms. Especially if you are buying an old home, the old often needs to be contrasted with the new to prevent it from just being old and dingy. You would prefer old with a bit of pizazz to lift it up.

If you are buying to resell, look around the area to see that standard and prices of the houses or flats around yours. Buy a local property report to understand the demand and values. You could buy cheap and renovate and sell for a decent higher price. But, take into consideration the transfer, attorney and other associated buying and selling costs. What you get back needs to be much higher than this otherwise your efforts are in vain. You also want to be careful that you don’t overcapitalise for the area. Regardless of how much you pimp up the house and kit it out, you will reach a point that whatever you add in value is not going to increase how much you can sell it for.

Keep an eye out for plumbing issues, electrical complications, cracks that may mean foundational issues, or damp. If there are issues it doesn’t mean you need to rule the house out, but definitely factor it in to your buying price. If you have your heart set on a house and want to ensure you know as much as you can about the current state of the property, it is probably wise to pay for a home inspector to come check it out.