A quick glance at the plug sockets can tell you a lot about the state of the electrics within a building. If the plug sockets are not your standard square holes and have the older round holes this is an immediate indicator of work that will probably need doing. Old electrical fixtures suggest that the wiring of the house may not be up to current modern electrical installation regulations, and as such will need re-wiring. This is can be an expensive job and is certainly something you could use as a bargaining chip to reduce the price of your offer. Modern regulations require that any modifications to the electrics within a building be carried out by a qualified electrician. The current homeowner should have certificates for any electrical work carried out since 2005.
Damp is something that most people are familiar with looking for when viewing a house. You will often notice it without specifically looking for it, as the smell of damp permeates strongly through a building with this problem. When looking at a house try to check the damp-proof course is all around the house, it should be around about three bricks up and be continuous along the brickwork of the property. If you notice any gaps in the damp-proof or a build-up of soil to above the level of the course, expect to see damp on the inside of the building in these areas. Take note of any recent paintwork or furniture covering these areas as they may be hiding the effects of damp.
Taps & Light Switches
Most people who are looking to buy a house do not test the function of taps and light switches. It’s a very easy test to make and can save a lot of hassle and extra work that may be necessary. Testing the taps can give you an indication of the water pressure from both the cold and hot water systems, if the cold water pressure is not high enough, unless there is a mains leak, there is little that can be done about it. Hot water pressure gives an indication of the age and health of the boiler system and whether the pump is functioning appropriately.
Ensure that you take a look at the boiler when viewing a house. Try to find out if it was recently installed or is old and perhaps search the model number online if you or the owner are unsure. Is it Gas or Electric? Ask to view the heating bills from the previous year to get an idea of the running costs and take away the chance of being shocked with a bigger than expected charge.
If you are happy with a house and want to go further with the sale, make sure you arrange an opportunity to have a look at the roof. Get up into the attic, take a torch with you and check the age and integrity of the roof beams. If these are not in good condition you should seriously consider whether you still wish to purchase the property as replacing these will be an extremely expensive and time-consuming task. Use a torch to inspect the roof but make sure you also have look with it turned off. When the light is off you will easily notice any daylight coming through the roof, which is suggestive of tiles missing or damage to the felt.