Five checks to consider when buying a house

Buying A Home - 650 X 300We know that buying a house costs a lot of money – it is the most expensive thing many of us will ever buy. Yet we often only have a couple of viewings before taking the plunge. This checklist will help you gather information about the property and surrounding area that will help you make an informed decision that’s right for you.

1. Are the vendors asking a fair price?
You’ve found the property and fallen in love with it - but how do you know if the vendors are asking a fair price?

To find out what property is being sold for in your chosen area (as opposed to what is being asked) check out Zoopla. The site contains historic property listings, including pictures and details – and sold prices. This will mean you can compare similar houses in the area you’re looking at to see if you are getting a good and fair deal.

Be aware that your vendors may want to recoup investments they’ve made in the property, such as a new kitchen or bathroom. Studies have shown that a new kitchen could potentially add in the region of £5,000 to the value of a property, and a new bathroom £2,500.

You may want to do work to the property yourself, in which case, find out how much the work will cost by speaking with local builders and tradesmen. If it makes the whole cost of the property more expensive than similar ones in the area, you may lose out when it comes time to sell.

2. What are the negative aspects of the area and could you live with them?
Your vendor is unlikely to draw your attention to any negative aspects of the area and that’s why it pays to do your homework beforehand.

If you’re not familiar with the new neighbourhood, have a walk around in the daytime and chat with people in local shops and businesses. Be sure to visit at a few different times of the day, and ideally at night, to get the full picture.

Does it look as if people take pride in the area, overall? While one or two unkempt gardens may just be lack of time or expertise, streets and streets of untidy gardens may indicate that the residents are not taking care of the area. Could you live in an area like that?

You may want to check out the UK Police website ( where it is possible to map local crime rates by postcode. Details include the nature of the crime and the action that was taken by the police. The maps are listed by month and it is possible to review historic crimes too.

3. Is the property at risk of flooding?
Seven of the 10 wettest years in our country’s history have occurred in the last 21 years. 2013 had the wettest winter in history but was followed just two years later by the next wettest. With the Environment Agency estimating that as many as one property in every twelve in the UK is at risk of some form of flooding, it pays to consider the risks and impacts of a flood.

Find out if your new property is in an area that’s at risk of flooding by clicking here. Just add your postcode for an instant summary of flood risks in England, or click the links within the site for information covering England, Scotland and Wales.

4. What’s being built nearby?
All new developments that require planning permission in your chosen area will be on the local council’s website. You can search the register of planning permissions via the government’s website.

Some development can be positive, the appearance of well known brands on your high street can help increase the cachet of your local area and consequently, the value of the surrounding homes and properties. The Americans even coined the term ‘The Starbucks Effect’ to describe these phenomena in action with a well-known coffee brand.

5. Do you know how much you can afford?
It is so easy to get caught up in the moment and be tempted to increase your offer. However, unless you can afford the home and property finance, you may soon regret your actions.

That’s why using a home finance calculator makes good sense so you can find out how much your monthly payments could be. Al Rayan Bank has a calculator to show how much monthly payments could be on the range of Sharia compliant home purchase plans.

Al Rayan Bank’s Home Purchase Plans, including Buy-to-Let Purchase Plans are based on the Islamic finance principles of a co-ownership (Diminishing Musharaka) and leasing (Ijara), and offer very competitive rental rates. Click here for more information.



You might also be interested in...