Buying a new home is an exciting time, and it can be easy to become swept up in hunting for that perfect property. Most people draw up a list of the essential features they are looking for, such as a garden, three or four bedrooms, proximity to transport links, and so on. Then there’s the ‘nice to haves’ such as a modern fitted kitchen and bathroom.
However, it is important to consider how safe and secure the home will be, which can often be overlooked in favour of a temptingly large landscaped garden or a loft conversion. Here are some of the security considerations to take into account when you are house hunting.
What are the crime statistics for the area?
Ask around if you know anyone local to the area what their experience of crime has been, such as attempted break-ins, vandalism, nuisance behaviour in the vicinity, and so on. You can also research crime statistics by neighbourhood online. Ask the sellers if the home has ever been broken into, and if so, what was the means of entry.
Suss out the neighbourhood
Find out if there is a neighbourhood watch scheme in the area and how active it is. Walk around and get a feel for the community. Are there lots of empty holiday homes or rented houses that change tenants frequently? Does the neighbourhood look tidy or is there evidence of graffiti and littering?
If you have children or pets, consider how safe it will feel for them. Is there a busy main road nearby, or a pub that could get rowdy on the weekends? Find out who lives next door, and meet them in advance if possible, especially if it is a flat or a terrace or semi-detached house. Nuisance neighbours can make life very difficult.
Why is the home for sale?
Estate agents are obliged to give you honest information about why a property is on the market. There may be a negative reason, such as impending construction work nearby or a dispute with a neighbour. Ask why the owners are selling and decide if their reasons could impact you in any way.
How long has the property been on the market?
In the current climate it’s not uncommon to find a property that has been on the market for several months, so this needn’t be a red flag. However, there could be a reason for this so ask if any previous offers have been withdrawn and why. If the asking price seems above average for the area the sellers may be open to accepting a lower offer.
If the house seems to be underpriced there could be a reason for this, so think carefully before rushing in.
What security features are currently in place?
Security systems are often sold with the house, so ask what is included in the asking price. For example, there may be a burglar alarm or outdoor motion sensor lights installed. If there are no security systems at all this may affect your home insurance premiums.
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