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Thirteen top tips for avoiding a costly mistakes when you buy a house

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Buying a house is probably the biggest single investment you will ever make financially. Read our thirteen top tips to help you avoid buying something that turns out to be a “money pit”!

TIP ONE Never buy unseen. The more often you view a house, the more likely you are to spot potential problems before you move in.

TIP TWO At the first viewing try not to treat it as a potential home but simply as a building that needs inspecting.

TIP THREE View the property three or four times, at different times of day, to find out what it’s really like.

TIP FOUR Look at the structure of the building. For example, even if there are hairline cracks in the walls, investigate further.

TIP FIVE Be wary of damp, check as thoroughly as you can, and keep your nose open as damp can give off a musty smell even if you don’t see it.

TIP SIX If you do spot faults, you shouldn’t necessarily be put off buying, but at least you should get a professional opinion, and use this to renegotiate the price.

TIP SEVEN Spend 15 to 30 minutes looking around the property and then at least half an hour walking around the general area.

TIP EIGHT Find out what it’s like at rush hour, when the pubs close, at weekends and on a weekday.

TIP NINE Try to drive from the property to work or school during rush hour to check the commute.

TIP TEN Remember, the seller doesn’t have to tell you about problems, and they may try to hide them. Ask direct questions and try to make sure you get proper answers.

TIP ELEVEN Common cover-ups include painting over damp, putting furniture or curtains in front of cracks or rugs over floor problems.

TIP TWELVE People may also be vague about who owns gardens and parking spaces. Try to get some definite information about this.

TIP THIRTEEN The Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 states that estate agents can’t be misleading, but they don’t have to reveal problems either, so ask direct questions and keep a careful note of the answers.

For any more information on buying or selling a property please contact a member of our Residential Conveyancing Team.