House hunting is always an exciting time with scrolling through the Rightmove app usually becoming your favourite hobby! But, when you’ve narrowed down your choices and decided which houses to go and view it’s important not to get carried away with the dream of living there and try to think practically, a practical approach will definitely help to try to avoid or minimise hidden or unexpected costs. When buying houses there’s a few things I always keep in mind…
When Viewing the House
- I look for signs of subsidence and movement – checking the door frames, ceiling and floor lines and keeping an eye out for visible cracks or cracks which have been covered up.
- I look and ask questions about the electrical wiring, the plumbing, how new the boiler is, whether the homeowner has maintenance records and installation and safety test certificates.
- I look at the condition of the windows and doors.
- I look for signs of wood worm, damp and mould.
- I also ask questions about possible asbestos presence.
When we bought our first house we were very young and very naive, eager to get our foot on the housing ladder and just bought the house we loved, overlooking pretty much my entire (now essential) checklist!
Shortly after we moved in the neighbours asked what we’d be doing about the asbestos roof on the garage as they were worried it was dangerous and in a state of disrepair…. this was the first time I’d ever even heard of asbestos, asbestos exposure and asbestos related illnesses and conditions.
In the rush and excitement of getting our house we’d not given a second thought to most of the things on our house buying checklist, a mistake we’ve never repeated! Our oversight cost us a lot of money – firstly we had to pay for a specialist firm to come and do asbestos testing to confirm the presence of the material. Then we had to pay a huge amount of money to have it safely removed, asbestos always needs to be removed by specialist contractors – you can check with local council, The HSE or the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association about disposal facilities and contractors in your area.
Ever since our brush with costs associated with asbestos and it’s removal – we’ve been sure to always get a full house survey completed on properties we are looking to buy – ensuring that the surveyor does notify us of any suspected asbestos and then following this up with an asbestos survey to confirm it’s presence.
Using asbestos in buildings is now banned, but in houses built prior to 2000 it was a common building material and could be found in a number of places throughout homes – for full list check out The HSE website.
Disclosure – sponsored post on behalf of Your Legal Friend – for full details of my disclosure policy please read here. This article is merely my personal experience and should not in any way be treated as a guide for asbestos identification or removal tips or as a checklist for legal and safety issues to check when buying a home, always seek professional advice when dealing with asbestos related issues and house purchases.