Buying a home

When you have found the new house of your dreams, what should you do to reassure yourself that it will not turn into a nightmare?

Surveys
The first thing to consider is getting a survey of the house you are buying.  There are a number of different types of survey, and the one you will need will depend on the age and condition of the property and also to a certain extent how much you would like to spend on the survey.   A building survey is the most thorough survey and will give the most information about the condition of the property and any possible work that may be needed.  A Homebuyer Survey is suitable for more modern houses, and will give peace of mind that the house you are buying is value for money. 
When choosing a Surveyor, it is impoartnat to ensure they have the appropriate qualifications to produce the type of report you require.   Chartered Surveyors are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the RICS keeps up to date lists of all its members should you have any concerns and want to check that the Surevyor you have chosen is in fact Chartered.
It is always worth meeting with your chosen Surveyor at the property if at all possible, as they will then be able to talk you through their findings directly.

More serious problems
If the house you are buying has obvious signs of problems, like cracks in the walls or crumbling brickwork, you may want to consider employing the services of a Structural Engineer.  They can carry out either a General Structural Inspection, which will cover the whole building, or a Specific Structural Inspection where they will only look at the specific area that you have highlighted as having a problem. Surveys such as these can prove invaluable as they can either help your reduce the asking price of a house to cover the costs of any necessary repairs, or they can prevent you from buying a house where the repairs and upkeep are going to be more than you are prepared to commit to.
Depending on when the property was built, it may be worth having an Asbestos report produced - to check for the presence of asbestos and to produce a plan for its management. 

Other things to consider
Depending on the age and condition of the property you are buying, you may also wish to investigate specific areas.  For example, an Electrical Report will look at the condition of the wiring in the property, which can be particularly useful in older properties.  If there are any trees close to the property, an Aboricultural Report will help you decide if these are going to be a problem, and if so what needs to done about it.  A Drainage Report may also be useful in these cases.

So many things to consider!
Buying a home is such a big investment, in both time and money.  Having the appropriate surveys done will help you to make the right choice and ensure that you are not taking on the unknown.