Picking out a new house can be exciting and terrifying at the same time. How do you choose the best location? How do you know what you can afford? What’s the tiebreaker if you love two places equally?
The first and only way to begin the decision-making process is to grab your pen, paper and calculator. Make sure you know what it is you want, all the details of the houses you’re looking at and break down the costs and final numbers of what you can afford.
Because your new house will be your home for years and you should enjoy every moment of it. We’re here to help you with everything to keep in mind when planning, looking, and deciding when and where to buy your piece of the rock.
What to look for when buying a house
Buying a house can be one of the most exciting things in life, but these days it seems we spend more time vetting people on social media than some people do viewing a property that is going to be their home for years to come. Some buyers live to regret not taking the extra time to look over a property. Buying a house is a VERY big deal – so don’t feel bad taking your time to look over somewhere that you could be living in for years.
Don’t be surprised after you buy – here are a few tips to pay attention to when looking at a property for sale:
First and foremost is the building structurally sound? In Bermuda we are lucky enough to have some pretty solid houses, however many of them are older and could have some issues. Big cracks are what you’re looking for, especially around ceilings, end-of-terrace walls, and windows, all of which can start to fall or bow away from the rest of the house. Also ask how old the roof is and make sure to inspect it to ensure it is sound.
With many of our houses made from stone, dampness can be a big issue. Be on the lookout for mould or mildew. The main giveaway signs are a smell, flaky plaster or paint, and watermarked walls or ceilings. It sounds obvious but look closely for the warning signs hat could lead to a larger problem.
Windows & Doors:
The state of the external windows and doors are a great indicator of the state of the house. Again, as many Bermudian houses are older, it’s important to check not only the quality of the windows but also the frames to make sure they aren’t rotten and that they will keep out the elements. Many older windows aren’t double pained or glazed which means they may not keep in as much heat or AC, which is good to know before moving in.
Besides the layout of the house many people don’t think about the actual size or space of a room. Most homes are staged so smaller furniture could be placed in a room to make them seem bigger. Bring measurements of your current furniture to ensure rooms will accommodate them; otherwise you could be adding thousands to the price of new furniture in your housing costs. Keep in mind storage space as well. Is there room to put all your stuff or space for shelves if not?
North or South Facing:
Which way does the house face? Many people don’t think about it at the time, but it could mean the difference between a home that is full of light and warmth or one that is frustratingly dark. This could mean a difference in your electricity bills and your lawn and garden may be affected too.
Plumbing & Wiring:
Get your hands on everything, and we mean everything. Turn on every faucet and light switch, open every window and door, flush the toilets, even taste the water. Buying a house is a big step — maybe one of the biggest — and you need to know how everything works firsthand. Check out the fuse box, ask about the water tank, and test the water pressure.
You probably chose an area before looking for what houses are available, however if you’ve never lived in that neighbourhood before you may be in for a surprise. What’s the area like at night? Are there noisy roads nearby? Can you walk to the shops or do you have to drive? Is there public transport nearby? What are the neighbors like? These are all things to check out and consider
Take the time to ensure you look at all the details and factors before going with a house. Don’t feel bad taking your time or even looking at a house more than once. And at the end of the day the most important question to ask is: does it feel like you could make it your home?