Location Location Location…
Is this the neighbourhood where you really want to live?
A Building Survey will analyse the building in detail but other factors in the locality need to be considered. So before you make an offer, carry out your own research on things such as……
- Flood Risk. This information is free and readily available from the Environment Agency through a simple postcode search on the following link:
- Google the postcode along with search terms such as ‘mining’– subsidence is an expensive problem! .This research will not only give you an idea of past activity but also whether there are any future proposals for the area.
- Crime Don’t forget to check out the crime statistics on the following link:
Avon and Somerset Police also have their own archive for localised criminal activity.
Look for any empty or abandoned buildings nearby.
Check for syringes, beer cans and other evidence of antisocial activities.
Have a look at the parking provision in the area, not just at the time of the viewing but have a drive past when everyone is home from work.
Is it on the route to an industrial estate, with heavy goods vehicles passing that could shake the property?
Is there a railway line nearby, factories or other activities that may generate noise at night?
- Transport links
Is there any public transport in case your car is off the road for a while or you can’t drive?
Is there adequate lighting at night? Would you feel safe walking home from the bus or train in the dark?
- What’s in a name?
The road name may give an indication as to the history of the property for example Mill Lane,Quarry Road or Stream Way.
And then of course, schools, shopping facilities, leisure provision…
Now, about the property itself.
Look carefully at the other properties in the immediate vicinity, particularly those built in the same style. Neighbouring properties have been re-roofed, but your target property hasn’t. For example – if the buildings are the same age, recognise that you may be facing a re-roofing cost of upwards of £6k. The same applies to replacing double glazing, cracked render, leaking guttering, and removing chimney stacks – if the neighbours have already done it, your dream home may require it to. That sparkling new paintwork may be hiding a multitude of issues.
Check out the History
Check out the history of the property on Zoopla or Rightmove. If the past listings are available, look at the pictures see if there are cracks in the walls or changes to the roof. Especially helpful are previous or neighbouring properties’ floor plans – check to see what if any changes have been made, such as removing chimney breasts or internal partitions for instance, or installing ‘loft rooms’. All these need Building Regulations approvals, to ensure that the work has been done correctly.
Above all, try to visit (again!) when the vendor is around and ask them what has been done, what permissions have been obtained, what guarantees exist– you will soon have a good understanding of the quality of the alteration or refurbishment work. And it will help to establish a relationship with the vendor, so they may be more amenable if you need to ask for a reduction in the price to cover any hidden defects discovered when you have had a Full Building Survey.It is always a good idea to speak with the neighbours and ask what they think of the area or future developments or if they know anything of past works at the property you are looking at.