Here is a comprehensive checklist for when you're viewing a property. Figure out what's important to you. Overthinking every item can result in analysis paralysis.
Schools: If you have children or are planning to have children, check the catchment areas of local schools.
Parks: A nearby park can be a nice place to go for walks or relax when the sun comes out.
Flood risk: Is it near a river and coast? Is it likely to flood? Some insurers may not cover homes in certain areas if they have flooded in the past. Check out floodinfo.ie for more information.
Safety: Drive around the area at different times or the day (e.g. weekdays, night time) to see if there are any unsavoury characters around or if the street lighting is poor. Note that some areas may have bad reputations but have improved in recent years.
Noise: Are there any nearby large roads, train tracks, playgrounds, sports venues, churches with bells or flight paths that you might find annoying? Check with the windows opened and closed.
Traffic: Nearby schools, churches, sports or music venues can mean extra traffic at certain times of the day or for events.
Transport: Check how easy and fast it is to get to work or into the city centre if you think you'll be travelling there a lot, either by car or public transport. See how much walking you have to do out in the open air if you're worried about rain. If you're checking commute times online, make sure you're checking at the time when you'll be commuting.
Shops: Check where you're local shopping centres are or if you have to travel further to get to a cheaper supermarket.
Socialising: Are there many coffee shops, pubs or restaurants that you like? Explore the area!
Sports: If you play sports, check out where the local teams, pitches, facilities and gyms are and how much they cost.
Proposed construction: Is anyone planning to build anything nearby? Will it overlook your property or garden?
Age: How old is the building?
Insurance: Does the property have a Home Bond?
Damage: Has there ever been any damage that needed repairs? Has there ever been a fire?
Energy rating: Every property for sale must have a Building Energy Rating (BER). This is an indicator of how much it will cost to heat.
Heating: How is the property heated? How old is the heating system? How expensive would it be if it needed to be replaced? Is the home insulated?
Windows: Can you open all the windows or are some of them jammed? Are they single, double or triple glazed? How much noise do they let in?
Garden: Is there a garden? How big is it? How difficult or expensive would it be to convert from grass to maintenance-free or vice versa? Is there a shed? How long will it be before it needs to be replaced? Is there a deck? How much maintenance does it need?
Parking: If you have a car, is there off street parking or will you have to park on the street? You may have to buy an annual permit from the council if you are parking on the street. It may also affect your car insurance premium.
Finishes: Check what is included in the sale price. For new builds, some may not include flooring or some finishes. For existing properties, verify exactly what furniture and fittings are included.
Structural issues: Keep an eye out for structural issues like floors that aren't level, large cracks in walls or a sagging roof that may be costly to fix.
Management company: Is there an annual service or management fee? What does it cover? Is there a sinking fund?
Storage: Is there enough storage for everything you have? You may have suitcases or seasonal decorations that take up more room than you think.
Attic: Could you covert the attic if you wanted? Note that there are restrictions on whether you can consider an attic a bedroom depending on fire safety.
Lighting: Do all the lights work and where are the light switches located? How much light comes in the window? What direction are the rooms facing?
Plumbing: Do all the taps, toilets, baths, showers and sinks work? What's the water pressure like?
Bathrooms: Is the tiling in a good state? Is there any mould on the walls or ceiling? Does it look like the room was recently repainted? How noisy is the power shower?
Bedrooms: Could you fit a single or double bed in them with enough room on one or both sides? Is there enough storage room for your clothes. Are the bedrooms beside each other and can you hear through the walls?
Kitchen: Do all the appliances that are included work? How old are they? Make a note of the brands and model numbers if you want to do some more research. Can you all easily sit at the kitchen table? Is there enough counter space?
Reason: Why is the seller selling? Are they in a hurry? This might be useful information when you are negotiating price.
Interest: How long has the property been on sale? Has there been much interest in the property? Has anyone made any offers yet? Is the seller flexible on price?