Spring usually sees a surge in properties on the market. This is a time when gardens will be at their most attractive with an array of flowers and new vegetation in contrast to the preceding months. Also, many families who are relocating hope to complete their move in time for their children to start their new schools in September. When buying a house in Spring don’t get carried away. Its important to stop and think about what sort of home your proposed purchase will make at other times of the year.
Rainwater gutters and downpipes
If there hasn’t been very much rain for some time it might not be obvious whether the rainwater gutters, downpipes, gullies and hoppers are functioning. When buying a house in Spring, it is a good idea to check joints of gutters and downpipes for signs of leakage such as staining and make sure rainwater hoppers are not blocked. Also, check that gutters are adequately supported with brackets at regular intervals and check that all gutters have stop ends. Examine walls carefully for any signs that rainwater goods have been leaking or overflowing.
Drives and paving
Drives and paved areas may look fine during a dry spell but it is important to look for clues to determine whether they are adequate during wet weather.
Check for signs of ponding to low areas such as stained areas or silt. Puddles on the drive or patio are not ideal and can be a hazard when they freeze in cold weather. Areas of ponding can also cause the surface to deteriorate more quickly, particularly after sub zero temperatures.
If the drive (and any other hardstanding areas) are steeply sloping then look to see where rainwater will run. If paved areas slope towards the building then there may be a torrent of water during heavy rainfall. Rainwater should ideally fall towards gullies or drainage channels and be discharged into surface water drains or to a soakaway.
When buying a house in Spring, remember to check there are sufficient paths to access important areas of the garden such as the garage, sheds, bin store and the washing line. Some external areas may be acceptable during dry weather but may turn to mud in wet weather. You may not mind walking across the lawn to a shed or bin store in the spring or summer when the ground is dry, but the same route could quickly become a quagmire during wet weather.
On a bright day in spring or summer rooms can look much brighter than on a dull day in the autumn or winter. When buying a house in Spring, consider the size, location and orientation of windows to assess how much natural light the same rooms are likely to have during the winter months. If certain rooms are likely to need lamps during the day it is better to know before you decide to buy the house.
See also instructing a surveyor when buying a house.