43 questions you should ask before buying a new property

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Similar to plane pilots before take off, most of us go through checklists before taking big decisions, however when it comes to one of the most important decision of our life, buying a property, we often go unprepared. We list pro’s and con’s before changing a job, we make business plans before starting a company, some even have checklists for finding a life partner. When it comes to buying a property we might have a few ideas of the ideal neighborhood, the size of the plot, or the price we want to offer, but we often fail to get answers about the things that can have a big impact on our health, our budget and our happiness in the long run.

This doesn’t need to happen anymore because now you can print this list of questions and take it with you next time you visit a property. The purpose is to give you some guidance and help you take an informed decision. Some of the points might not be of importance to you, while others, which I have left out, could be. So I encourage you to add your own questions, and delete the ones that are of no relevance to you. At the end of the day the decision is only yours.

In terms of property, in my opinion there is a big difference between buying a property inside a city or outside of it so below you can find checklists for both scenarios.

Buying a property in a town/city

If you are planning to purchase a property in a crowded city you should keep an eye on the following:

Location location location

We all know that location is important. Every good real estate agent knows that this is one of the most important selling point. But what exactly do you have to look for when choosing a location?

1. Does it take 30 min or less to reach your work and you’re hanging out areas?

Note:In my opinion, paying a premium for a location inside the town, is only worth it if you gain time, so choosing a location that is not only close to work, but also to your favorite hang outs is paramount. If there isn’t an app to show you the estimated time needed to reach your main focus points you can take public transport towards the property when you are visiting for the first time.

2. Is the neighborhood clean and the houses well maintained?

Note: This can have an impact on the criminality rate, and the price of the property.

3. Is the area well connected to the public transport?

Note: 3 or more options would be best  : buses, trams, ideally metro.

4. Is there a bicycle lane on your street, or near it?

5. How far from the property is the nearest busiest street (4 lanes or more).

Note: Ideally should be more than 300-500m, so you don’t have to suffer from noise pollution.
6. How far is the nearest train station/airport?

Note: the closer to a busy street, train station, airport, the more soundproofing you will need.

7. How many parking places are there in the area?

Note: Try to check this during the week, after work hours.

8. Are there any obstacles around the property that can block, the sun or the wind from reaching your property? EX. large trees, tall building, etc..

Resources

To live the good life we need access to resources. The closer to the property, the more time we save and the happier we are, so always check the resources available in the neighborhood before buying a property.
1. How many grocery shops and pharmacies exist in a walking distance from the property.
2. How many kindergartens and schools, with good rating, are in your neighborhood.

4. How many children playgrounds are there in walking distance from the property?

3. How many infrastructure investments have been made in the past 3 years or are planned to be made in 1-2 years?

Note: This can have an impact on the price of the property.

5. Are there any big polluters: oil refinery, power plants, large chemical producers, in a 3-5 km radius, from the property?

Note: this will impact pollution levels, and you will need to include some air filters in your planning if you buy the property.
6. How many factories, offices, etc are there in the neighborhood?

Note: This will increase pollution and rush during the day, but it can also most likely increase the price of the property.

Health and safety

We know that our surroundings have a big impact on our health and safety, but how often do we take this in consideration when buying a property?

1.How many hospitals/emergency rooms exist in the neighborhood, and how far are they from the property?

2. How far is the nearest police station?

3. What is the criminal record in that neighborhood in the past 3 years?

4. How far is the nearest fire station?

5. How many gyms, sport halls, pools are there in the area?

6. Is there a large public gathering place around the area, like a stadium or concert hall?

Note: This can increase the rate of vandalism near your home.
7. How many parks are in the area, preferably walking distance?
8. How many trees, plants, etc are in the area?

Note: This will have a direct impact on the air quality, and the background noise in your area.

9.  How is the tap water quality in the area?

10. How many of your future neighbors have dogs in their yard?

Note: Owning a dog can be a fun and rewarding experience. However a dog kept outside can also be very noisy during the night. If the number is high your home will require some extra soundproofing.

This are some of the things I look at when searching for properties inside a city. Feel free to edit them and add your own questions to the list. Bellow you can find some suggestions if you are looking to get away from the congestion found in big cities, and live a life closer to nature.
If you want to buy a property outside the city some things you should keep an eye on are:

Location, location, location
1 .How many options for public transport do you have?

Note: If the answer is close to zero, you should pay close attention to point 2.
2. Do you have a car with good fuel economy?
Note: The difference between a car that burn 8l/100km and a car that only uses 6l/100km can cost you over 3500 euro’s in the next 10 years, for a commute of only 50 km back and forward every day. 2l more used for every 100km , considering a commute of 50 km a day, leads to 5-7 euro’s extra cost a week just for fuel.  That might not seem much, but it rounds up to more than 350 euro’s a year in extra cost just for fuel, and if you plan to stay at least 10 years in that place, it is over 3500 euro’s. So if you live outside the town, you should buy the greenest car you can afford.

Resources
1.Is there at least one grocery store, one pharmacy near by, less than 15 min by car?

2. How is the condition of the roads?

3. Are there any investments being planned in the area?

4. Are there any farms 500m or less from the property?

5. Are there any factories 500m or less from the property?

Note: the smell and pollution from nearby farms and factories it’s not always sensed, so you might not be aware of it when you visit the property, but you will fill it after you buy it, so make sure to ask.

6. Are there any big refineries, power plants, other big pollutants on a radius of 5-10 km?

7. Do you have access to utilities like water, electricity, heating etc.?

If not can the surrounding area give you access to these resources?

8. Is there water in the underground, so you can build a well?

9. Are you allowed to harvest rainwater?

10. Is the area around the property free of obstacles so you can use solar and wind energy?

11. Do you have a river in the back of the property, so you can use hydro power?

12 Can a large truck reach the property, for draining the sewer pit?

13. Is there at least one kindergarten and a school nearby, and how many teachers and children do they have?

Health and safety

1.How far is the nearest hospital?

Note: If the nearest hospital is far it might be a good idea to take a first aid course.

2. How far is the nearest fire station?

Note: If far make sure your home is equipped with the best fire protection system you can afford.

3. How far are the nearest police station?

4. How many of your future neighbors have dogs in their yard?

Hope the list will help you take the best decision when you choose the make the big step of buying a property.

If you have some additional suggestions for the list please share them in the comments sections below.

Like always: the decision is always yours!

F.M.B.

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