Key QS to ask when buying a home as British Gas warns boilers more important

A quarter of homeowners bought their property purely based on its looks – only to find issues affecting the structure, plumbing or electrics soon afterwards, a study has found.

Sixteen per cent admit that the colour of the front door is enough to put them off, while 18 per cent wouldn’t buy a house if the living room couldn’t accommodate a big enough TV.

When buying their most recent home, only one in five took the boiler’s condition and service history into consideration.

This could explain why nearly a quarter had boiler issues in the first 12 months after moving in, with 17 per cent having to expectedly fork out for a replacement.

The study of 2,000 homeowners also revealed that one in 10 found none of their furnishings were suitable when they moved in, while the same number discovered the built-in appliances didn’t work.

British Gas carried out the research to help buyers and sellers prioritise more effectively, with property transactions amongst the highest in 15 years as both parties scramble to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.

A spokesperson for British Gas said: “First impressions are important when buying a home, but it’s easy to be either wooed or deterred by something that’s relatively insignificant in the overall scheme of things.

“Paint colours are easy to change after moving in, but a heating system overhaul is less straightforward.

“So, sellers with a heating system that’s well maintained and working efficiently should actively promote it, and buyers should be asking the right questions.

“Key things to find out about are the boiler service history, the quality of the windows, whether the house is well insulated, and whether it has any smart features that help to save energy, like a smart thermostat or smart meter.”

Understandably, one in five survey respondents said that after buying their most recent home, they found themselves with less disposable income – which could be linked to the four in ten who said they should have looked into their current home’s energy efficiency more closely when buying it.

A quarter admitted to paying no attention to their house’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) during the purchase process last time around, but attitudes are changing.

Homeowners are now almost three times as likely to regard a house’s energy efficiency as “very important” than they were 10 years ago, and only three per cent are left saying it’s still not important to them.

Sustainability is rising up the agenda at the same time, with homeowners now more than twice as likely to view a home’s sustainability as “very important” compared with a decade ago.

Overall, the OnePoll figures saw 86 per cent agree houses should be as energy efficient as possible, and 46 per cent would be willing to pay more for a home with sustainable heating technology such as solar panels and a heat pump.

The spokesperson for British Gas added: “It’s great to see house hunters start to take more of an interest in sustainability.

“An important first step is keeping your boiler in good shape so it can keep you warm and safe for less.

“And for those who are ready to go further, there are a variety of options on the market from simple energy management devices like smart thermostats and smart meters, to renewable heating technology like solar panels and heat pumps.

“We’re working with homeowners in the West Midlands to trial hybrid heat pump systems, which combine an air source heat pump with an efficient gas boiler. The ambition is for up to 80 per cent of the heat generated to be renewable.”