Don’t be distracted by décor, make sure you look out for these things when viewing your first houses.

Booking your first house viewings is a real milestone for any first time buyer.

But while you’re busy visualising where your flat screen TV will hang and deciding which will be your accent wall, there are a few other bits you need to keep an eye out for to ensure you’re making a sound investment.

Sometimes it’s the less obvious things that end up making the biggest impact on your home life. We take a look at 5 key things to consider:

 Smoke alarm
Step 1

Natural light

Unless you’re a vampire, one way to bring down your mood is living in a house that’s constantly dark.

The position of a house affects how much natural light gets in. This can have an impact on your heating bills as well as your frame of mind.

A south-facing home will maximise natural light and warmth, while a north-facing one may keep your house cooler – not so great in winter but beneficial in summer. A north-facing home can be bright if the main living space is at the back and there are lots of windows.

You can check a home’s position by downloading a compass app to your phone.

Step 2

Location, location, location

You might have found the house of your dreams, but there’s more to think about than how good the property looks. The neighbourhood it’s in is a big consideration. Ask yourself these important questions:

  • How near is it to the shops? 
  • Does the area have good transport links? 
  • What will the commute to work be like?
  • Is the property near a pub or takeaway that might get rowdy at night? 
  • Is crime a problem in the area? 
  • If you have children, or are planning to have some, is there a good school nearby?
Step 3

Parking spaces

Parking wars with your neighbours can be stressful. If the house you’re viewing doesn’t come with a garage or off-street parking, check how much space there is on the road. It’s worth looking at the parking situation in the evening when the number of parked cars is likely to be at a peak.

Also check if there are any parking restrictions in the area. Do you need a permit to park there and will you need to pay for this?

Step 4

Mobile coverage

If you’re not planning to use a landline, mobile signal is a key consideration.

Look at the signal bars on your phone when looking round a house and try to make a call, it’s worth trying it in more than one room.

You can also use RootMetrics’ free app to test the phone signal and mobile internet service.

Step 5

Storage Space

Once you’ve bought a house you’ll find you gradually start to accumulate more and more stuff. Does the home you’ve got your eye on have plenty of storage space? Where will you keep your spare bed linen, vacuum cleaner and boxes of junk?

In particular, in new-build homes space can be scarce. Consider if there’s room for cupboards and shelves to be built in, and make sure you know what’s being left as part of the sale.

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