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5 Things To Consider When Buying a House

Pavani
09 Oct 2018

If you’re looking for your next dream home, there’s a lot more to consider than just your mortgage. Boilers, conservatories, double glazing, energy efficiency and much more play an important role in your decision making process (or at least, they should) because these are the main features that turn a house into a home.

In this article, we discuss the 5 things you need to consider when buying a home (that you might forget otherwise).

Does your prospective home have a conservatory?

If your potential new home doesn’t have a conservatory, it is best to know how much they cost to install before you make the purchase. In the vast majority of cases, a conservatory will add 5-6% of value to the price of a home. So, when you are looking at a new home that already has a conservatory, bare that figure in mind as you will be already paying a premium for your new property.

If the home does not have a conservatory and you thin that you’ll want to sell it on in the future, then a conservatory is a great investment option to raise the value of your home – as long as you don’t overspend.

If you were to add a conservatory onto your new home, you should expect to receive quotes within the following price ranges:

Type of Conservatory Design Size of the Conservatory Frame Material Roof Material Expected Quotes
Lean To 3500mm x 2000mm uPVC/PVCu Glass £7,000-£9,000
Edwardian 3500mm x 3500mm uPVC/PVCu Glass £10,000-£12,000
Gable End 3500mm x 3500mm uPVC/PVCu Glass £12,000-£14,000
L Shape 3500mm x 3500mm uPVC/PVCu Glass £12,000-£14,000
P Shape 5000mm x 3000mm uPVC/PVCu Glass £14,000-£16,000
T Shape 5000mm x 3000mm uPVC/PVCu Glass £13,000-£15,000
Victorian 3500mm x 3500mm uPVC/PVCu Glass £11,000-£13,000

How could we use a conservatory?

Conservatories are the ideal space to relax in during the summer heat or to huddle up in during the rain and the cold. Many people use conservatories as a go-between for their homes and their back-gardens during summer. In fact, 81% of households say that they leave their conservatory doors open during summer months. This allows a fluid and natural movement from your home to your garden, making it ideal for barbeques and summer events.

In winter months, having a portable heater in your conservatory is one of the most popular ways of making the room accessible and enjoyable all-year-round. This is one of the reasons that a new-build conservatory is a good investment - because they are more heat-efficient than their older counterparts.

This means that you won’t have to heat them for as long to achieve the same effect, saving you money on your electricity bill.

Will the conservatory need repairing or replacing?

In many cases, it is better to buy a new conservatory or to replace the conservatory roof. This is because they are very cost efficient in the long run – especially when you consider the value that they add to your home.

New build conservatories won’t need any repairs or replacements for years to come and should you sell your house, the buyers will pay more for the peace of mind that they won’t have to buy any repairs for it in the near future.

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Does your prospective home have a combi boiler in good working order?

People often think that a boiler is just something that they should replace whenever it breaks without thinking about what the lack of efficiency of their current one is costing them.

What benefits will a good boiler bring my home?

Combi boilers are more energy efficient than their older counterparts. So much so that you could save up to £300 a year in heating bills. This is enough to make a substantial difference to the expenditure of many households.

Additionally, the installation of a combi boiler is much cheaper than it used to be so you can say goodbye to many of the costs you used to have to pay for having one fitted.

Combi boilers take up less space than they used to as well. This could mean that they free up more space in your loft or a cupboard that you may have otherwise not have been able to use. The speed, size, and efficiency of the system are all impressive and vital to the enjoyment of your home.

What should I ask the current homeowner about the boiler?

It is important that you quiz the current homeowner about how old the boiler is, whether it needs a lot of servicing, and about the size of their gas bill (is it bigger than you think it should be?).

By asking these questions, you get a better idea of the kind of money you’ll be spending on it now and how soon you’ll have to pay for a replacement. Be sure to factor these costs into your moving and living budgets.

How much do new boilers cost?

We’ve gathered up a range of quotes on mid-sized boilers – they’re ideal for semi-detached homes. Here’s what we found.

Boiler Manufacturer Boiler model Size in height, width and depth Power Output Maximum Flow rate Supply Only Supply Plus Install
Worcester Bosch Greenstar 28i Junior 71cm x 40cm x 33cm 28 kilowatts 11.4lpm £850 £1,555
Valiant ecoTEC Pro 28 72cm x 44cm x 33.55cm 28 kilowatts 11.5lpm £865 £1,570
Atag IC Economiser Plus 27 77cm x 44cm x 35.5/27.5cm 27 kilowatts 12.6lpm £1,995 £2,700
Viesmann Vitodens 050-W 29 70cm x 40cm x 35cm 29 kilowatts 12.1lpm £845 £1,550
Baxi Neta-tec Combi 28 GA 70cm x 39cm x 29cm 28 kilowatts 11.5lpm £825 £1,530
Glow-worm Easicom 28 74cm x 48cm x 33.8cm 28 kilowatts 11.5lpm £660 £1,365
Ideal Logic Combi 30 70cm x 39.5cm x 27.8cm 30 kilowatts 12.4lpm £745 £1,450
Potterton Performa Combi 30 HE 78cm x 45cm x 34.5cm 30 kilowatts 12.1lpm £715 £1,420

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Does your New Home have a Heat Pump?

Heat pumps are growing in popularity in the UK and for good reason. They are an alternative to your current heat source (whether that is gas, oil, or electricity) and they usually double as air conditioning units for the summertime as well.

They work by taking in air from an outside metal unit and moving it through a series of ducts into your house, heating it along the way. This is a great way to efficiently heat your home through the winter and keep it cool during the summertime months.

What is an air source heat pump?

There are two main types of air source heat pumps - air to water heat pumps and air to air heat pumps.

An air to air heat pump takes in air from the outside and circulates it through your house. This is only used to heat spaces in your home unless you decide to combine it with your existing boiler and wet central heating system.

An air to water heat pump uses the hot air it generates from outside to heat water. This hot air is then distributed throughout your house, much in the same way that a normal central heating system would be.

How would an air source heat pump benefit me?

Efficiency and energy saving are two of the main draws to air source heat pumps. This is because they save you money on your energy bill. The more efficient the heating system is, the less energy you need to put through it in order to achieve your desired home temperature.

If the house I want to move in to does have one, what should I ask the current homeowner?

You should ask if it is in any way faulty, whether it is air to air or air to water, how long they have had it for, and what effect it has had on their energy bills.

These questions will give you a good idea about whether the unit needs to be replaced and how long you have until that needs to happen.

As a ballpark figure, if your new home does not have an air source heat pump, you should budget between £7,000 and £11,000 for supply and installation.

Working Burglar Alarm System?

Many homeowners don’t appreciate the presence of a burglar alarm as much as they used to. In fact, many homeowners even forget that they have (or don’t have) a burglar alarm at all. A home security system not only acts as a deterrent for criminals but it also helps stop crime in your wider neighbourhood, in many cases.

Making sure that your new home either has a working burglar alarm or knowing that you need to buy one is an important step in making your new house a home. Below is a table of the different types of burglar alarm.

Type of Alarm Number of Sensors/Contacts Number of Keyfobs Supply only Cost Supply and Install cost
Bell-only wireless 2 1 £69-£250 £169-£350
Bell-only wired 2/1 1 Not available £400
Monitored wireless 2/1 1 Not available £100-£200
Auto-dialler alarm 1/1 1 £190-£310 £290-£410
Smart alarm 1 0 (your smartphone acts as keyfob) £159 £259

Is it really worth having a burglar alarm these days?

According to a survey of recent convicts, 60% of them were deterred by the sight of a burglar alarm on a house. In fact, it could be the sole reason in deciding whether or not an intruder enters your home and steals your possessions.

For this reason alone, having a burglar alarm is worth the cost and those costs aren’t very high.

How will I know what type of burglar alarm the house currently has?

You have two main choices when it comes to purchasing your burglar alarm. You’ll need to choose whether your alarm is wired or wireless.

Wireless burglar alarms are powered by batteries. The sensor and the control panel use such little energy that they can last for many years. In the event that the battery does start to run low, the alarm will send a signal to the control panel saying that the battery needs to be replaced.

A wired burglar alarm is connected to the mains. This means that all of the sensors and the control panel are all directly connected to and fed by your main energy supply. The benefit of this is that you never have to replace the battery and the system will be in continuous operation. However, the installation costs of this are normally much higher than wireless burglar alarms

What are the options available to me if I want to replace the current burglar alarm?

Your burglar alarm control panel is the box on the wall (usually situated near the front door). This monitors all of the activity that the sensors send to you. From this panel, you can control which sensors you would like to be active and which are the ones that you don’t need on at the moment.

Your sensors are the seeing eye of your security system. You can even have security sensors that are pet friendly. These pet-friendly sensors only monitor the motion in your room 1m above the floor. This means that pets can roam around freely without setting off the alarm.

Keyfobs are another important consideration. Working just like your remote car keyfob, a personal keyfob both activates and deactivates your alarm and even includes a panic button which, if you choose remote monitoring for your alarm, can notify one of the company’s representatives that you need help.

You might want to upgrade to something called a smart alarm. This system connects with your mobile phone every time that it goes off. So even if you are without your keys, you can still be notified of a break-in.

There are many different ways you can now customise a burglar alarm installation to make it right for you and your family. Be sure to speak to an installer about exactly what it is you want your system to do.

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Double Glazing Windows?

As we mentioned in the introduction, your windows can be one of the main culprits behind a lack of energy inefficiency in your home.

What benefits does modern double glazing bring a home?

Having properly double glazed window in your home means that it is much warmer in the winter. Double glazing does a great job of keeping the heat in your home, no matter what the weather conditions are like outside. If you don’t have modern double glazing, you might find that you are spending an inordinate amount on your heating bills and that it’s difficult to get your home to the temperature you want and that you feel comfortable at.

In older homes, condensation can be a major problem. Condensation means that the inside of your home is more damp. This can lead to mould growing, wallpaper coming away from your walls, and unsightly mould growing around your windows.

Can I choose from different types of windows if I decide to replace them?

When the time comes to replace your windows, there are a few options to choose from, including:

  • Standard (annealed) glass – this is the standard, ultra-strong, insulating type of glass you see in most conservatories and double-glazing installations
  • Tempered and toughened glass – toughened glass undergoes an extra treatment giving it up to four times the strength of standard glass and better noise insulating properties
  • Laminated glass – laminated glass is the same as tempered glass except for the addition of a plastic interlayer that holds the glass exactly where it is in case it breaks
  • Low E glass – possibly the best option for you if you want much more control over the temperature during all times of year

What about the frames used on double glazing?

Naturally, the frames used to hold in the windows are just as important as the glass itself. When you want to replace the frames that hold the double glazing in place, you should consider some of these options:

uPVC windows are the most popular framing material and they’re now fully recyclable (when made by most British Manufacturers). This means that they are significantly more environmentally friendly than they used to be in both their production and disposal. They also don’t require much attention and maintenance to keep them looking aesthetically pleasing.

The second option that you might want to consider is hardwood window frames. These are popular among owners of older houses because of their authentic look and feel. If you don’t want to compromise the aesthetic of your home then hardwood windows may be the best option for you. This is the most expensive type of framing you can buy.

Softwood windows are another option. They are the least expensive of the two wood options and they provide the same level of long-lasting durability as their hardwood counterparts. It is worth mentioning that they do need painting more regularly than hardwood.

You may instead opt for a composite window. This is a wooden alternative fitting that has a similar style to the other wooden frames, but with added weatherproofing. This makes them more long lasting and can be a more “buy and forget” situation when it comes to window frames.

Metal frames, usually made of aluminium, are very stylish and hard-wearing. You can customise your metal frames too making them really personal and unique to your home.

If I did want to replace the windows, how would I know and what would it cost?

If you have damaged or broken windows, it is almost always the cheaper option to have the windows fully replaced than it is to have them repaired. This is only for serious damage though. For minor scuffs and scratches there are several services available which allow you to repair a window to its original quality.

If your windows are suffering from poor performance (such as sticking, creaking, or glaring), then it is definitely the better option to have them repaired unless there are other issues with the windows at the same time. All of the potential issues we just mentioned can be easily dealt with on your own, without the need for professional assistance.

If you are looking to lower your energy bills, then it may be a better idea to invest in double glazed windows. This does mean that you will have to buy new windows outright however the saving you will make on your energy bill (and the difference that it can make when you come to sell your house) more than make up for the cost.

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Type of Property Avg Number of Windows Reaplacing Range of Costs
Regular apartment 4 or 5 £2,075-£3,140
Smaller house 8 or 9 £4,230-£5,680
Medium house 10,11,12 £5,320-£7,660
Larger house 15,16,17,18 £7,990-£11,540

Financial considerations when choosing your new home

If you’re looking at these improvements to raise monetary value of your home ahead of a future sale (even 10 or 20 years later), then it is a good idea to consult with an estate agent. Ask them how much these additions might add to the price of your house in your area and then work out for yourself if the cost will be covered by your property’s expected future value.

If I do choose to go for a new home and it needs work doing to it, what’s the best way to find the cheapest quotes?

If you need any of the improvement done to your current or future home mentioned in this article, please get in touch with us. You could spend hours scoring the internet to try and find the best quote from suppliers or we can do the legwork for you. We’ll put you in touch with 3-4 local experts who will provide you with a quote free of charge so you can really drive the price down. Our service is free and there’s no obligation on you to accept a quote from any of our partners.

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