Eyes out for a hitch in the kitchen
Autumn already! How did that happen? It’s still feeling fairly summery at the moment, but as the temperature starts to drop a little it can be the perfect time to do some home checks and maintenance without dropping from the heat. This month, kitchens are the hot topic.
Your kitchen is one of the areas of your house that sees the most use – but it’s also the most expensive room to replace and update. Even a house with a 1960s kitchen can be extremely expensive to bring up to 21st century expectations – so we’ve listed a few things to really look out for.
When you’re looking at a property, investigate the appliances. Are they coming with the house, or are you going to need to provide your own? And if they are coming with the house, you’ll need to check them out to make sure that you aren’t getting saddled with shoddy whiteware and gadgets.
- Is the dishwasher working (does it actually wash the dishes?) and is it hooked up to water supply as it should be?
- Do the igniters work if there’s a gas hob?
- Does the range hood vent to the exterior of the building?
- If there’s a waste disposal, is it all bark and no bite? Make sure that it does actually dispose of waste, rather than just make a lot of noise.
Don’t presume anything based on how new or tidy appliances look – be sure to put them through their paces. While many items may be listed as chattels, inspections can’t always tell you how well any individual appliance works. Things can turn on and appear to be doing the trick, but there’s ‘turning on’ and then there’s ‘actually working’. You don’t want an oven that can’t gauge temperature properly and always burns the pavlova!
When you’re budgeting for your move, it’s always important to have some wriggle room – you might suddenly find yourself forking out for things you didn’t expect. And no one wants to buy a property and then spend more money on replacing appliances that you thought were working when you put the money down!
If plumbing is a problem, you aren’t going to be having a good time in your kitchen. Just because there are no obvious leaks doesn’t mean it isn’t worth having the pipes thoroughly checked out – if you know what sort of state they are in, you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into. It could be that a pricey style of piping has been used, leaving you with a large bill should the worst happen. Or if something cheap and less reliable has been used, knowing that your long-term household budget may need to include major plumbing repairs is equally important.
On the plumbing front, it’s also important to check the bits that aren’t hidden away. Check on the taps in the kitchen to see that everything is flowing properly and hot and cold water is coming out of the appropriate taps. Give the tap a wiggle, and make sure that there’s no leakage through the body of the tap – if there is, it’s often cheaper to replace than repair. Since the kitchen taps are generally where you’ll be getting your drinking water from (more so than bathroom or laundry taps), you want to be sure that there’s no unpleasant taste.
When you cook, the air can get full of steam, smoke, moisture and all sorts of things that can make the air stuffy. Ventilation is really important – you need to know that there are windows that can open or an extractor fan if it’s in an enclosed area.
As well as all the practicals that are applicable to everyone, it’s worth thinking hard about exactly what your own needs in a kitchen are. Electric or gas? Amount of counter space? Pantry size? For any element that isn’t quite to your liking, you need to consider just how much it will bother you as time goes by. If it’s going to be a deal breaker, either start looking elsewhere, or work out how you can factor the needed changes into your budget.
Unfortunately, most of us are buying second-hand houses, and nothing lasts forever – no matter how well maintained it is. But if you take that thought – and these tips – into consideration, you’ll have a much happier house-hunting time. And of course, get in touch to book an inspection if you need a professional perspective.
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