Things you should know while Buying an Existing Home


An existing home requires a thorough inspection before you put your money into investing in the property. Careful assessments give you a better picture of the property you will be buying, in turn increasing the likelihood of a comfortable and cost-effective new home. Be it a property to upgrade to or invest in, time appropriately spent researching the property will minimize the future improvement costs. Here is how you can begin:

Research before Purchasing

While upgrading can be expensive, it is necessary to have your research right before moving forward with buying an existing home. You can start by identifying the climate zone and climatic conditions throughout the year in and around the area. You'll need to choose a home that can work the climate in the area rather than against it. Thermal comfort is a necessity, and upgrading the existing home to better heating and cooling needs might cost money.

If the existing home needs upgrading, it is best to plan the improvements ahead. A well-planned upgrade with a reasonable cost of modification will deliver a more affordable and comfortable lifestyle. Likewise, assess the range of costs associated with repairs, maintenance, retrofitting, rectification, minor and major renovations, and upgrades and then determine affordability. If the cost range of home improvements is affordable, buying an existing home should fall under your upgrading budget.

Home Inspections

A home inspection is essential whether you are buying a newly built property or an existing home. Inspecting allows you to have a closer look at the layout, structure of the house, and available space. At times existing homes can prove to be costly in regards to sustainability as these homes might need retrofitting. While sometimes, buying an existing home can seemingly be cost-effective and simply be upgraded. Either way, making such a decision requires careful assessments with thorough pre-purchase evaluation. Having an experienced consultant in the matter will help you rectify the hidden problems and balance out the cost of renovation against the property purchase price.

To begin with, you can develop a wish list that includes the list of features you would want in your home. Clarify what features are negotiable and what isn't. While many renovations such as more cupboards or extra space, or even a new bathroom and kitchen can be adapted at a relatively low cost, some features cannot be negotiated with. Some features that are non-negotiable are - access to cooling breezes, solar heating and power generation, and close proximity to shops, work, school, and transport facilities.

Here are a few other features to look out for while inspecting an existing home.

  • Check for structural cracking. As it can reduce the lifespan of a house if it is left unattended, look for signs of cracks and any repair that might have been made in the past. If you find them, consult with an expert before making your offer.
  • Rising damp can also reduce the lifespan of a home with health and air quality implications. It is easy to rectify but can often end up being expensive.
  • Termites' attacks can be a risk due to inadequate ventilation and lack of physical barriers. Check with council records whether the existing home was certified during construction or not. You can also ask the inspector for any recent inspection in the area.
  • Also, check with the rural fire service for bushfire risks and take this into account during decision making.

Shortlisting homes

After a thorough inspection of the existing home, make a list of features that required retrofitting and match it with your wish list. You can then shortlist the homes that meet your wish list and effectively adapt to the cost. After narrowing it down to one or two properties, choose an experienced designer or sustainability expert to attend the next inspection and identify any problems in the existing home with solutions. Based on the assessment, they can estimate the cost of upgrading for you in order to meet your preference wish list. Do remember to consider the location before shortlisting a home. As you know, you can always add to your home, but relocating can be a whole new problem.

Closing the deal

Finally, after factoring in all the costs, head to negotiations and make offers based on the considerations and cost of retrofitting. Do let the agent and seller know about the limitation of the existing home and then move ahead with the settlement process. However, be prepared to walk away if the limitations are not addressed in the price. Buying an existing home often comes with various aspects that need to be closely inspected. If you need a hand, our experienced Nepalese mortgage brokers can assist you throughout the process. Contact us now!


Kiran Thapa

Ushma Shrestha

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