Buying a home is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. It is a process that can throw surprises at you along the way, that can become increasingly expensive the more you dig and yet can leave you residing in your dream property when it concludes.

There are few regulations placed upon you as a buyer, but there are aspects of owning a home you should be aware of before you decide to purchase, especially if you are buying an older home. If you are purchasing a new build, then there is less likelihood of complications from a survey, although you should still have certain criteria satisfied.

 

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

The main regulation you should find useful is the Energy Performance Certificate, known as the EPC, which is mandatory for homes when they are built, sold or let. It covers aspects of thermal efficiency and gives your home a rating from A to G – A being the most efficient and thus likely to cost you less in energy bills. Now more than ever before, insulating your home is an important business, a topic we explore in our article Why is Property Insulation so Important?

 

Survey-Dependent Regulations

As Property Industry Eye discusses, there is a drive to reintroduce a compulsory pack for home sellers, like the defunct Home Information Pack. It was a short-lived method by which a seller put together a pack of information about their home prior to it going on the market, much like a survey but conducted before a buyer had been found. They were compulsory until May 2010, but a similar project has yet to become mandatory in the UK. That means in terms of regulations, the only other ones you need to be aware of are directly affected by your survey, usually conducted by your mortgage company ahead of any purchase.

These cannot be avoided, and they are intended to give your lender a clear picture of the property they are lending money against. These could throw up all manner of problems which need resolving before you are loaned money, or that you must pay attention to in the first six months of moving in.

Typically, older homes tend to fall foul of surveys, with electrics and damp being two of the key areas which you may have to look to carry out remedial work on. Electricity can be dangerous and in older homes, particularly those that have been advertised as ‘in need of modernisation’, you may have to have a full rewire carried out. Even if you only need certain parts of the system looked at, the NICEIC regulations are far-reaching and demand a qualified contractor to work on the property. Failed wiring, fuse box breakdowns, or even broken power sockets are all serious problems facing homeowners at any time, but in a new property you may not be aware of previous problems or potential ones.

However, HomeServe outlines how with electrical insurance cover you can protect yourself from any unforeseen dangers, and against the cost of expensive repairs in the event of breakdown or malfunction. It is especially important to pay attention to this aspect of your home not only when you move in, but in the months after the purchase. It is somewhat ironic that if you bought a faulty TV and the problem became apparent a week after you purchased it, you could return it, but you are afforded no such protection with your home.

 

Regulations-when-buying-new-home

 

If you are asked to carry out work that involves your gas supply, you will also need to consult a qualified engineered, one who is CORGI registered. This is less likely on a survey but is still something you should consider. Regulations around the following are not as stringent, and there is flexibility for you as the purchaser:

  • Plumbers
  • Decorators
  • Bricklayers

However, being cautious is still advisable even if the project does not demand a specific qualification, as electrics and gas do.

In terms of regulations that cover what you need to be aware of, the randomness of the survey is something to keep an eye out for. Some properties may have asbestos that needs removing, others may have bats in the loft – both of which are covered by certain regulations. If you are in any doubt, make sure you opt for a more expensive and thorough survey, as it is usually an option, and carefully pour over the recommendations and suggestions contained within.

This way, you can enjoy your new home not only when you move in, but for many years to come.