When purchasing a property in the UK, it’s essential to conduct thorough checks to ensure that the property is a sound investment and there are no hidden surprises. Here’s a comprehensive list of checks to consider:
Location and Local Amenities:
- Proximity to public transport, schools, shops, hospitals, and other essential services.
- Future infrastructure or development plans in the area.
- Crime rates and general safety.
Property Structure & Condition:
- Check for signs of damp, mould, and structural issues.
- Age and condition of the roof.
- State of windows and doors.
- Quality and age of plumbing, electrical systems, and heating.
Land Registry Check:
Confirm the property’s ownership and ensure there are no disputes.
Local Authority Searches:
Provides information on planning permissions, future developments, and more.
This can highlight issues like flooding risks or land contamination.
Chancel Repair Liability:
Determine if there’s a potential liability to contribute to local church repairs.
Ground Rent & Service Charges:
Particularly important for leasehold properties.
Leasehold vs Freehold:
- If it’s leasehold, how many years are left on the lease? Short leases can affect property value and mortgage eligibility.
- Understand the terms of the lease and any associated costs.
- Ensure you have a mortgage in principle or confirm other funding sources.
- Obtain a detailed estimate of all costs involved – including stamp duty, solicitor fees, valuation fees, and survey costs.
- Verify the estimated monthly costs of running the property, including utilities, council tax, and potential service charges.
- Conduct a Homebuyer’s Report: This is a detailed survey examining the property’s condition and highlighting any necessary repairs.
- For older properties, a more in-depth Structural Survey might be advisable.
Planning Permissions & Building Regulations:
If any extensions or significant changes have been made to the property, ensure they have the necessary planning permissions and comply with building regulations. You may be looking to extend a property or look to build a loft conversion, if so you need to ensure there is space and it’s viable.
- Speak to neighbours or local businesses to gauge their opinion on the area.
- Check noise levels, especially if near roads, railways, or airports.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC):
- Properties in the UK need to have an EPC when they are built, sold, or rented. The EPC provides information on the property’s energy use and costs.
- Check if you can get building and contents insurance and if there are any factors that might increase premiums, such as flood risks.
Future Resale Value:
- Consider how easy it would be to sell the property in the future. Factors affecting this include the property’s age, condition, size, and location.
- Walk around the property to check boundaries and ensure they match up with what’s stated in the deeds.
Potential for Development:
- Is there scope to extend or renovate? If so, consider potential planning permission requirements.
- Internet connectivity and mobile reception are essential for many. Check the quality and speed of broadband available.
Making these checks ensures you’re making an informed decision and can save you from potential pitfalls or unforeseen costs in the future. Always use the services of professional surveyors and solicitors to help you navigate the complexities of purchasing a property.