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House Hunting: What to Look For Inside the House

Updated on July 26, 2010

This hub incorporates a checklist of things in addition to tips and advice to consider while finding your dream house. This is a complete house hunting guide. Read on to know the major points to think about while purchasing or renting a house.

Is the entrance hall large enough to receive visitors and to maneuver a pram?
Is the entrance hall large enough to receive visitors and to maneuver a pram?
Stairs and doorways should be wide enough so one can move pieces of furniture without difficulty.
Stairs and doorways should be wide enough so one can move pieces of furniture without difficulty.

Moving around

  • Is there an entrance hall or lobby where you can meet casual callers without disturbing the privacy of the family? Remember too, that this will keep draughts from the rest of the house.
  • Is the entrance hall large enough to receive visitors and to maneuver a pram?
  • Is there space near the front door for keeping a pram?
  • Is there a hanging space for coats?
  • Can visitors get from the front door to the main living room without going through other rooms?
  • Is there w.c. with a hand basin which the family and visitors can use without having to go through the living rooms?
  • Can you take a pram into the garden and can your children come and go between the house and garden without having to pass through the main living room?
  • Can the family get from the front door to their bedrooms without having to go through the main living room where the visitors are being entertained?
  • Can the family get from their bedrooms to the bathroom and w.c. without going through other rooms?
  • Are the halls, stairs and doorways wide enough to take large pieces of furniture?
  • Are the stairs free from possible sources of danger such as narrow tapered steps, single steps at half landings or other unexpected points, discontinuous handrails, a top step cut into the landing or a bottom step projecting into the hall or passage?
  • Can windows on stairs be opened and cleaned easily and safely?
  • Is there enough headroom on the stairs?
  • Will the stairs and any other changes in level be well lit both day and night so that you are not in your own light when going down.

Kitchen

  • Does the kitchen open directly into the room where you will eat?
  • Is it reasonably close to the main living room?
  • Does it overlook the garden so that you can keep an eye on the small children playing?
  • Is there space for some of the family to eat in?
  • Is the space around the cooker and sink free from interference when other members of the family go through the kitchen?
  • Is the kitchen compact to work in?
  • Are the sink, cooker and refrigerator positions conveniently close to each other?
  • Is there an unbroken sequence of worktop-sink-worktop-cooker-worktop? If worktops are not provided make sure there is room for fitting them later, in this sequence.
  • Is the cooker position away from doors and cramped corners? If you use gas, is it away from windows?
  • Do doors into the kitchen open clear of working areas, cooker and refrigerator?
  • If there are windows over worktops, can they be opened and cleaned easily?
  • Are fittings at reasonable heights?
  • Is there room for the kitchen appliances you already own or intend to buy?
  • Will these appliances fit beneath the worktops where necessary?
  • Are there enough earthed power points to connect all these appliances individually?
  • In a compact kitchen the sum of these distances will not exceed 22 ft 0in
  • Is there a suitable place to store all the perishable and other food you usually keep in the house?
  • Is there enough storage space for your cooking utensils, washing up materials, crockery and cutlery?
  • Is there a cleaning cupboard in or near the kitchen? Check that it will take a long-handled broom, a vacuum cleaner and all the cleaning things you use.
  • Will there be good lighting by day and night which does not cast shadows over the working areas?
  • Is there likely to be enough ventilation, through windows or by an extractor fan, to prevent cooking smells from invading the rest of the house?
  • If floor covering is provided, check that it will not be slippery when wet.
  • Is the floor easy to clean?

Laundering

This has been dealt with separately, as it may take place in the kitchen, bathroom or a separate utility room.

Is there somewhere to store dirty linen, soap powders, the ironing, the iron and ironing board?

Is there anywhere convenient to try and air clothes indoors - not forgetting drop drying?

Can you get out to the clothes line easily?

Is there space for a washing machine and tumbler dryer or spin dryer?

Are there earthed power, water and drainage points for connecting these machines?

Will there be adequate hot water for washing machine?

Is there good ventilation? This is a steamy area.

Will there be good lighting by day and night which does not cast shadows over work areas?

If floor covering is provided, check that it will not be slippery when wet.

General storage

  • Is there warm linen cupboard?
  • Is there space to keep sports and hobby gear, cases and other bulky things?
  • If there is a roof loft, is it suitable for additional storage?
  • Is it possible to store all the things you need to use frequently within easy reach?
  • Are cupboards with hanging rails deep enough to take clothes on hangers? At least 1ft 10in. is needed.

Pleasant View from Living Room
Pleasant View from Living Room

Living Rooms

  • Most families find it useful to have two living rooms. With two rooms, several things can be going on at one time without interfering with each other.
  • Are there pleasant views from the rooms?
  • Is there easy access to the garden from one of them?
  • Are the rooms large enough to take your furniture?
  • Is it possible to arrange the furniture in different ways?
  • Is the room large enough for the whole family and visitors to eat together?
  • If you wish, can the kitchen be screened from this room?
  • Can one living room be used without disturbance by the family having to pass through to get parts of the house?
  • Is the noise from one room likely to disturb anyone in the other?
  • Can the rooms be used as one for parties and other for special occasions?
  • Try and find if the undue noises can carry from next door houses. Remember that when the house is furnished it will be less noisy.

Bedrooms

  • If necessary can each member of the family other than the parents, have room of his own?
  • Will there be somewhere for putting up visitors?
  • Could one double bedroom be subdivided into two single rooms if necessary to cater for changing family needs?
  • Will the furniture fit into the rooms?
  • Is it possible to arrange your furniture in different ways? Particularly note if you can fit two single beds in double bedrooms and if beds can be away from windows.
  • In addition to normal furniture will you want to add a desk in the single rooms, or a cot in your own room?
  • Can all the windows be opened and cleaned easily and safely?

Bathroom and WC

  • Does the provision meet the needs of your family? Bear in mind that it is an advantage to have a second w.c. separate from the bathroom and another hand-basin.
  • Is there enough room in the bathroom to use the fittings in comfort, to open the door and enter easily, bath a child; take such things as scales, a stool, a towel rail, lockup medicine cabinet, laundry basket?
  • If there is a second w.c. and hand basin, are both the room and the hand basin large enough to be used by an adult for washing as an alternative to the bathroom?
  • Can the windows be opened and cleaned easily especially if they are over the bath?
  • Is the plumbing noisy? Test by turning taps on and off and flushing the cisterns, listen in bedrooms to check noise. Remember that when the house if furnished noise will sound less.

Services

Without a technical knowledge it is difficult to assess whether services are satisfactory?

There are however some general points which could be looked for and which will assure you that reasonable standards have been maintained.

Heating

Temperatures:

  • Will the type of heating installed give you the temperatures you want?
  • Check up on the temperatures which the system is expected to maintain. These should be not less than 65 degree Fahrenheit in living rooms and dining rooms and 55 degree Fahrenheit.
  • If you prefer a warmer house or have someone elderly in the family who needs it, will the system give the output you require?
  • If only part of the house is heated can the system be extended if you want whole house heating later on?

Efficiency:

  • Check up on the following points which will ensure efficient running and low maintenance of your system.
  • Have the thermostats been provided?
  • If there is only one thermostat is it in the main living room?
  • Is a time switch provided so that the system can be turned on and off when required?
  • If there are air grilles, are they located at low level either in the floor or just above the skirting board.
  • If there are radiators are they sited under windows?
  • Are grilles and radiators placed so that they will not be blocked by doors and furniture?
  • Are chimneys and flues free from horizontal runs and sharp bends and turns?
  • Are chimneys to gas appliances lined in order to prevent water or acid deterioration?
  • Are the roof and boarded ground floors insulated?
  • Is there a set of printed instructions showing you how to operate and maintain the system?

Electrical installation:

  • Has the installation been designed and installed in accordance with regulations.
  • Are main switch and fuse board inside the house in an easily accessible position?
  • Are there enough electrical plug points in the main rooms?

The following are suggested minimum:

Living room: 3
Dining room: 1
Kitchen (including cooker point): 4
Laundry/utility room: 2
Bedrooms: 2
Hall and landing (at each floor level): 1
Garage: 1
Workshop: 1

Are light points and switches where you need them? In particular check for following:

  1. Two way switching at the top and bottom of the stairs
  2. Landing switches near to bedroom doors
  3. Stair lights accessible for replacing bulbs
  4. Lights in stores (including loft)
  5. A light in the garage

Gas Installation:

  • If needed is there a point for your cooker?
  • Is it not possible to make an extension for a refrigerator?
  • Is there gas ignition, or a gas poker point with safety tap by any solid fuel boiler or grate?

TV:

  • Is there a TV aerial outlet in the main living room?

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