What to Look for when Renting or Buying a Home

Digital Team / 6 June, 2020 /        

Whenever you are going shopping for anything, especially something that will cost you a lot of money, it is prudent to have an idea of what you want. This makes it much easier to come to a decision since you already have a point of reference. The best you can do is to rank the must-have features in order of importance. The same applies when looking for a house to rent or purchase.

The first thing one should look at in a house or property is natural lighting. Does the house have enough illumination during the day or do you have to keep your lights on throughout? Natural lighting is very important because it impacts on electricity consumption, not to mention the psychological effects. Research shows that natural lighting makes people happier. A dark house makes you feel gloomy and even lazy because you don’t have a sense of what time it is. A well designed house should have plenty of natural light. Interestingly, daylighting (placing large windows strategically in order to maximize natural light) has become a noticeable trend in modern building designs.

The second factor to check on is ventilation, which is critical when it comes to health and comfort. A good house should have enough windows to allow free flow of air in and out of rooms. Sufficient ventilation also prevents moisture build up inside the house, thus keeping away mould, an irritant that worsens illnesses such as asthma. Air circulation is most important in bathrooms and kitchens. Some apartments have exhaust fans in these rooms to push the unwanted smells outside and maintain good air quality. This is known as spot airflow. Similarly, other buildings have voids in between the houses to allow for this function.

Another factor to consider is how spaces relate with each other. A well designed house should not have a private room such as a bedroom opening directly into a common space, such as a living room. Spaces should be arranged according to privacy, and intimate spaces should be situated further inside the house to limit access. A corridor works best in most designs to ensure privacy is upheld, especially when there is a door between the corridor and the common area. Another impractical design is having a kitchen that is too far from the dining area or the main entrance means that food and groceries have to be carried over quite a distance daily. As a potential tenant or buyer, try to imagine your daily routine inside the house to determine the functionality and correlation of spaces.

Plumbing is also a crucial factor. While viewing a house, inspect its water supply and drainage systems. Whether you get your water from the town council, a borehole or mixed storage informs its usage and effect on some of the plumbing fixtures. Hard water is notorious for leaving tough stains on toilets and teeth. If you choose to live where the source is purely hard water, what measures will you have in place for such effects? You should also check for defects in plumbing fixtures like cracks and leakages on fittings especially the toilet. Another thing to inspect is the flow of water on the floor from one point to another. Note any difference in levels in the washroom to ensure water is flowing towards a floor trap or that there is a separation in the washroom floor between the shower and the toilet seat Buying a home is a big investment and it be helpful to know what type of plumbing system was installed in a house. This may not be so easy for a layman to determine, so getting a professional to inspect could be useful.

Maintenance is another factor to consider. You should know how many resources you are willing to put towards the upkeep of the house. Suppose you have a double volume house with windows going really high, how will you deal with cleaning and draping the windows? Some houses have several lighting points, special fixtures such as chandeliers, hard wood floors, granite tops, down lighters and wall brackets. Cleaning and maintenance can be costly. Is it sustainable for you?

Good finishes are also a key item to note while checking for a suitable home. Is the house you are looking at built and finished keenly with quality workmanship? For this, you can check for bumps or blisters on the walls, chipped tiles, creaking sounds on timber floors, loose fittings like shower heads, rough surfaced doors, large cracks on the wall and so on. While some of these issues can be purely aesthetic and thus easily corrected, others can cost you a lot of money depending on the severity of the defect. For example, a bubble or blister on a wall could be from seepage of water. This could be in turn caused by poor water proofing from one side of the wall or simply a leakage from a water pipe or a ceiling above. Now, the resources spent on repair in each scenario vary vastly and that’s why it is important to be keen on such minor issues. Furthermore, large continuous cracks on walls, uneven or bouncy floors, cabinets that swing open and many more can be indicators that the house might have structural damages. This could be very serious hence, it will be prudent to assess any defects early in time to ensure no loss of property, resources or even life.

Looking for a house to live in or to buy is not a walk in the park so be sure to invest in something worth of your time and money to get the value you deserve.

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