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Unread 5 Aug 19, 09:59 AM  
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Originally Posted by limmy View Post
If you're that close to schools I would defo drive by around school drop off or collection time just to see how bad traffic is. School drop off parking is some of the worst you'll ever see.
Good point thanks- where the house is its kind of in its own little estate and there's closer places people could park for the schools but definitley worth checking.

It is nearby a football stadium, like not close enough to see but definitley close enough to hear. The location I'm sure is part of why its so cheap as the house is huge and so nice. The parking is allocated and numbered but that might not stop chancers trying to park there for football games.
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Unread 5 Aug 19, 10:00 AM  
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Originally Posted by Rac20 View Post
Visit at different times of day. Are the roads surrounding it busier at different times? Do people play the drums every day at 8pm etc. That kind of thing. Does it have its own parking? Parking for us is a big must. It would annoy me greatly if I couldnt park near my house.
Yes it has an allocated numbered parking space. Not sure about visitor parking but as we only have one car we can't let that dictate our buying. We are not even considering anything without its own parking having been there with nightmare parking situations!
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Unread 5 Aug 19, 10:05 AM  
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Originally Posted by SquishTheWhale View Post
Thank you for all very useful responses!

The house is 30 minutes away from where we live at the mo so we've never been anywhere nearby, we definitley need to check out the area. Had a very good mooch around google street view. If that sounds weird for us to buy in an area we've never been to, we can get at least 50% more house for our money there as it takes us out of the commuter belt for London.

From at least the pics that are online, the only thing I easily pick up on that needs attention is the back garden fence which looks on its last legs. Could we use something like that as a reason for offering less than the asking price? DH says that's silly as its onlu a fence.

We will definitley follow the advice to view on different days at different times. Maybe we could go back at the weekend if we like it.

I'm pregnant and this will be our family home so schools are important. There's two primary schools nearby, 0.3 miles away and 0.5. We'd have a preference for the 0.5- is there any way to find out catchment areas? I googled and the only advice was really to contact the school which doesn't work in the school holidays!
School catchment is on rightmove, otherwise you should be able to find it on the council website. However you won't be able to check parking etc due to it being holidays, could that be a reason they have put it on now?

If you are expecting have you thought where you will have the baby? Will it change? However it is the best time to move as you will make lots of friends with a new baby.

The fence may not be their responsibility, but if it is, it isn't stupid reason to reduce offer as our fence (not huge about 10/11 panels) cost 1300 to replace. This would be something to check. You can look it up on the Land Registry website but think it costs you a couple of . If the T mark is towards your garden then it is your responsibility otherwise it is one of your neighbours.
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Unread 5 Aug 19, 10:06 AM  
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Originally Posted by ezukax View Post
Get a good inspection. It'll protect your investment, but also give you some negotiating power if there are issues. You could spend a few hundred on the inspector, but end up saving thousands at closing.

A few things to look out for, both good and bad.

That beautiful pot of petunias by the front patio was purchased from a nursery to improve curb value when the house went on the market. It tells you nothing about how good or bad the yard care has been.

Lazy sellers mow a weed-filled lawn right before an open house.

Beware of stumps, particularly fresh stumps. An old stump will be gray from weathering and its bark will be peeling or gone. A fresh stump will have vivid color and might even have visible sap clotting. Assume that any fresh stump has live roots beneath the surface that will start sprouting one month after escrow closes. If you recognize this early you can make it a negotiating point. Otherwise you will be stuck with the choice of trimming suckers for years until the roots finally die or else shelling out for a stump removal.


Check the driveway for cracks. If a tree was planted too close to pavement then its roots will split the pavement as it matures. This damage is progressive and irreversible. The only way to stop its progress is to cut down the tree. Then of course you have a stump; see stump issues above. Improperly landscaped trees can also cause foundation problems if they're too close to the house; this latter problem may be one of the few yard issues a building inspector inspects for--depends on your jurisdiction--yet it's a major problem if it becomes an issue so you might as well be aware that it could crop up, then do further research if needed.

If the yard has mulch, then how fresh and complete is the mulch cover? (Mulch replacement gets expensive fast and gravel mulch gets both heavy and expensive--I've spread down about 1500 lbs of gravel in the yard since we bought this house).

Skilled gardeners use a technique called companion planting. The idea behind companion planting is that certain plants in combination lessen pest problems. It's too big a topic to explain in detail here so to cover a couple of basics, geraniums are often used as companions for rose bushes and marigolds are often used as companions for vegetable gardens. One shortcut is to ask the seller what companion plantings they use: an attentive gardener will get excited and offer a detailed answer; an indifferent gardener will stare blankly and not understand the question.

If you're taking out a loan, try to make extra payments (no need to wait till the 1st of the month either, get credit as soon as you can). Make sure you have $ immediately for potential repairs. Also have extra money at closing "just in case". The prices you're giving can fluctuate a little; hopefully in your favor, but you never know.
Thank you especially for the garden tips. The garden isn't fantastic, it's not a jungle but not neat and tidy either. I absolutley hate gardening so as soon as we could afford it we'd be covering it with decking or something anyway.

There is a tree down the end of the garden and the parking space is outside the back gate so will definitley check that.
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Unread 5 Aug 19, 10:15 AM  
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Originally Posted by parisdisneyfan View Post
School catchment is on rightmove, otherwise you should be able to find it on the council website. However you won't be able to check parking etc due to it being holidays, could that be a reason they have put it on now?

If you are expecting have you thought where you will have the baby? Will it change? However it is the best time to move as you will make lots of friends with a new baby.

The fence may not be their responsibility, but if it is, it isn't stupid reason to reduce offer as our fence (not huge about 10/11 panels) cost 1300 to replace. This would be something to check. You can look it up on the Land Registry website but think it costs you a couple of . If the T mark is towards your garden then it is your responsibility otherwise it is one of your neighbours.
Hmm Rightmove only seemed to show me nearby schools, I will have to try looking on a PC rather than the app.

I would likely change where I'm having the baby but I don't have any particular relationship with the midwives etc here (in fact they have been a bit rubbish) so I'm okay with that.

It's hard to explain the location of the schools, I might be being overly optimistic but I don't think they would park in this area- just because there's plenty of other places nearby for them to park instead as the schools are surrounded by residential streets.

Thanks for the fence and land registry tips!
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Unread 5 Aug 19, 10:16 AM  
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Originally Posted by SquishTheWhale View Post
Thank you for all very useful responses!

From at least the pics that are online, the only thing I easily pick up on that needs attention is the back garden fence which looks on its last legs. Could we use something like that as a reason for offering less than the asking price? DH says that's silly as its onlu a fence.
Ask about the fence it may not actually belong to the property and could be the responsibility of what or whoever is the other side. Boundaries and fences can be problematic when it comes to replacing.

Double check the car parking permit situation, does the numbered space belong to the house or is it controlled by the local authorities.

Check TV reception if you watch terrestrial TV and broadband speeds etc if these are important to you.

As there is a football ground nearby, go down on match day. Although parking is restricted, check for noise, litter, crowds.
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Unread 5 Aug 19, 10:20 AM  
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Originally Posted by BnDamo View Post
Ask about the fence it may not actually belong to the property and could be the responsibility of what or whoever is the other side. Boundaries and fences can be problematic when it comes to replacing.

Double check the car parking permit situation, does the numbered space belong to the house or is it controlled by the local authorities.

Check TV reception if you watch terrestrial TV and broadband speeds etc if these are important to you.

As there is a football ground nearby, go down on match day. Although parking is restricted, check for noise, litter, crowds.
Great tips thanks. I thought the football thing might be an issue but DH thinks not as the house is located to the rear of the stadium, so they'd have to walk a long convoluted route. It's just a local football club I think.

Definitley a good point on the TV ariels- our current rented place is so bad for that. We have two signal boosters downstairs and even then it goes in and out. The upstairs point doesn't work at all. The letting agent says its not their problem.

Not sure if a parking permit is needed but definitley something to check.
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Unread 5 Aug 19, 10:32 AM  
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How exciting to be looking for your first home, that's a lovely feeling.

My top advice would be to look inside the cupboards (kitchen mainly). My niece viewed a house and it had a lovely kitchen - or so she thought. Once she bought it, she realised they'd put new doors on and the carcasses were absolutely rotten. Cost her 6k for a new kitchen - lesson learnt. Open the doors and peek inside!

I would ask about any neighbour dispute (you will need to get this in writing via your solicitor). Nothing worse than them saying the neighbours are lovely, only for you to find out they are a nightmare and the people who sold to you had a mountain of complaints against them. This is against the law not to disclose I believe, but best to get the info up front.

Drive there at different times of the day and weekends to check out parking, noise etc. Walk around the area and get a feel for it.

Offer below if that's what you want, but have a reason for offering below. Being first time buyers, you are in a stronger position than someone in a chain, use that to your advantage. Make sure your offer has the caveat that if accepted, the house must be removed from all advertising and no more viewings accepted.

Ask about any management fees (if it's a newish house) - they can really add up each year and most require an extra payment when you remortgage.

Research future building plans for the area. You don't want to buy because it overlooks a beautiful meadow, then find out the farmer sold it and 200 houses are going to be built on it! Don't trust anyone else to do this research - do it yourselves for peace of mind.

If there is loft access, be sure to take a look so have a torch/step ladder in your car in case they say they don't have one available. A hidden ton of trouble could be up there (like daylight)!

Is there room to expand should you wish to? Out the back, on top or to the side? Have other houses in the street done extensions?

To finish (apologies for going on) - don't be too keen in front of the owners. Make nice comments if you want, but don't over-egg it. If this one is the right one, everything will fall into place, but don't let emotion rule your head. Something better will always turn up if this one doesn't work out.

Enjoy!
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