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Buying a New Home: Safety Checklist

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 16 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Buying A New Home: Safety Checklist

There are a number of safety aspects which are important to establish and questions you should be asking too. Here are some good tips to follow when looking at issues of safety when considering moving house. This will enable you to draw up a safety checklist.

One of the key aspects of buying a new home is viewing it. You’ll possibly be looking to live in it for several years and on many an occasion, a decision to buy has been made on the basis of the house ‘feeling right’ and where you could see you and your family living happily.

Backed up by a surveyor’s report, the decision to buy then often boils down to matters of taste in terms of how much it might cost you to re-decorate and the cost of any home improvements you might be looking to make.

Water and Heating
If the house has central heating, find out how old it is, if there have been any problems with the boiler and when it was last serviced by a CORGI engineer.

Insulation
Find out if the loft has been insulated and, if so, how long ago and whether or not it has cavity wall insulation too.

Alterations and Maintenance
If you're buying a new home you should establish if any alterations have been made to the property and, if so, ask to see any relevant planning and building regulations consents.

Look for any signs of subsidence. Doors sticking and large cracks in the walls are a good sign of that.

Check for signs of damp. Examples to spot might include wallpaper peeling or paint bubbling, any tide marks or signs of mould and be especially vigilant in these areas when it comes to the bathroom and kitchen.

Check the windows and door frames, especially timber frames, to make sure that they’re not rotting away. If you can easily press your finger into the wood, it’s a sign that the frames are in the early stages of rotting.

Also, ask how long it has been since the house has been decorated. If you’re told it has recently been decorated, ask why, given that the occupants are about to move. There might not be anything sinister going on if a house has recently been decorated as a lot of sellers simply do some basic painting and wallpapering sometimes just to make their home seem more presentable when it comes to selling it, especially if it’s not been decorated for a number of years. But, it pays to be a little wary as some sellers decorate in an attempt to cover up blemishes or faults.

Electrics
Have a look at the power sockets. Even if you’re no expert, you can usually tell if the sockets are new or rather old and, if the latter, you should be asking when the house was last rewired.

Also make sure there are sufficient power points inside the house. You may have far more electrical appliances to accommodate than the present owners and, if you overload the system with extension cords and additional plugs, it could be highly dangerous.

General Safety Aspects
In addition to looking at home safety issues inside the house, there are a few other things to take into consideration;
  • Street lighting and whether or not your car parking space will be well lit or in a darker corner where your car could be more at risk of being broken into
  • Establishing what the area is like as a whole and what the crime level is
  • How well kept the other homes are in your immediate surroundings and whether there’s any local knowledge about disputes between neighbours and/or any instances of anti-social behaviour
  • How close the house is to nearby pubs, clubs or restaurants and whether their proximity to your house could cause a problem
  • If the house has been built on fairly level ground or on a sloping site which might cause a problem if there is any flooding
All of the issues above could have a lesser or more significant impact as to how you might view your safety in your new home so they are all important factors to establish before you commit to buy.

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