Home Buying Guide
Buying a house is a venture that requires quite an amount of forethought, before one enters into an agreement to purchase. Most of the points for pre-consideration are such that the advice of others can be of little help. The buying of a home is a very individual venture, and if the transaction is to be completely satisfactory the decision must be made by the people who are going to live in the house. Thought should be given to the future — as well as to the present — when buying a house. It is reasonable to assume that it will be your home for ten, twenty, or maybe more years, and even then may well remain as a family property for a still longer period. Therefore the house chosen must be suitable not only for present occupation but for any forseeable future requirements. As house purchase is an investment as well as a means of having somewhere to live, it should be gone into very carefully, and after having made the purchase the property should be well cared for so as to increase the value of the investment.
The business of buying a house may be divided into three groups of thought and action: one, consideration, the process of deciding what kind of a house you want to live in and where it should be; two, inspection of the property; three, the actual purchase of the property.
Having decided to become a house-owner, it is very tempting to rush into action and start viewing properties of all kinds, but you will save much energy and some disappointment by resisting this natural temptation and devoting some careful thought to the living requirements of your family, before applying for orders to view. Start by entering your needs in a notebook; list all the points for consideration and revise your notes until you have included every possible factor; in this way you will be more likely to find the ideal home than by letting enthusiasm overwhelm you, to the extent of making a snap purchase. Having noted all your family’s requirements for the ideal home, list them in order of their importance.
To the car-owner a distance of several miles from his place of work may be a minor point for consideration, but travelling a distance by bus or train may not be so pleasant in bad weather. In the same way a distance of a mile or even more to the nearest shopping centre may not be of major importance if there is a good bus service, but if the shopping entails pushing a pram for some distance, the position becomes different. A house on a hill may appear very attractive now to young people, but not so appealing to older persons. To some people the garden may be an item to be considered first, to others the distance from the town centre or place of work, while some may place first a modern kitchen or a southerly aspect — the points for consideration depend on the individual family.
It may be that you have always wanted to live in a certain area in your home town, but before finalizing your decision it is well worth the trouble of exploring other areas, some of which you may not have seen for some time, or have only seen on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Study the transport routes to and from your place of work; a broken journey may mean long waits between buses. Consider the localof the district — shops, schools, cinemas, churches, clinics, libraries, sports grounds, etc.
It may be that some members of the family are very averse to noise, and a main road position would be less suitable than a quiet street or cul-de-sac. Should the area be only partly developed, find out if any town or country planning scheme is in operation.
If the district of your choice is in a town it may be assumed that the usual services,, water, and sewage, can be easily laid on from public mains, but if the area is on the outskirts of a town, or in a semi-rural area, it is essential to make enquiries about the from the boards of control concerned. Of course the lack of laid-on services may be overcome, but this may mean the installation of expensive plant or long-distance connections which would add considerably to the expense of the purchase.
You may have a preference for a modern house over an old-fashioned dwelling, but it is worth considering, that an old house that has been well looked after is a better bargain than a comparatively recently-built house the maintenance of which has been neglected.
The next step in the sequence of buying a house is to inspect several likely properties. This must be done thoroughly. If you feel you lack the knowledge or the agility to make a thorough inspection of the properties concerned, call in an expert valuer, especially if you are making the purchase privately and not through a building society.
Because a house has faults, it is not necessarily a bad buy, but if you like a house in spite of any obvious drawbacks, it may be possible to obtain the property at a reduced price, consistent with the estimated cost of effecting the necessary repairs. One very important factor for consideration before making a final decision is the cost of general upkeep, not only maintenance of the structure, but service, and local charges such as rates, water rate, and ground rent (if the property is leasehold). The difference between a leasehold and freehold property is that, leasehold means that the land is not included in the sale, it is merely being leased for a fixed term — at the end of the term, whatever it may be, the ground reverts to the original owner, or his heirs, and the land includes anything built on it. The most generally accepted state of condition is freehold, which simply means that the land is purchased with the house, and becomes your complete and absolute property.