Moving house can be exhausting, and at times, exasperating. The secret to minimise the teething troubles in a new nest is to pay attention to detail while you house hunt, writes Behnaz Sanjana.
There is no dearth of choices when it comes to renting or buying residential space in Bahrain. From homes on serene waterfronts, to chic apartments in urban pockets of the island, to secluded green oases – the options are extensive.
OK, so you’ve scoured houses for hours together and you’ve finally stepped into a potential pad that you feel positive about. But don’t say “I do” and put a deposit on it before you’ve seen the nooks and crannies.
The Neighbourhood – The area might be one you like, but consider which pocket the house is situated in. Does the bottleneck close by cause perpetual traffic snarls? If it’s going to be a frustrating experience to do the school run or get to work on time every single day, you might want to think twice before signing on the dotted line.
If it is an apartment or a villa within a compound you are thinking to rent, get to know a little about your neighbours. Consider your lifestyle; does it conform to that of the general populace of your building or compound? Sometimes people move out of perfectly good homes because the neighbours were far too noisy, or vice versa!
Storage and Space – This is often overlooked by novice house hunters, especially in fully furnished facilities. Taking into account the size of your family, and the things you own, do a quick mental comparison of the storage you currently have with the space you see in a potential home. Include wardrobes, dressers, drawers for miscellanea and, importantly, kitchen cabinets. Buying good quality storage is a major drain on the pocket, and, if your budget is already tight, you might want to peruse other options.
Even if you own your cupboards and appliances, estimate whether all of them will be able to comfortably fit into your new space. It’s a little too late when the movers inform you that there’s no way your fridge will fit through the kitchen door.
If you are buying a house, it might be prudent to keep in mind future plans. Enough square feet for later requirements, like a baby’s room, study or home office, should be given thought to save time and money in the long run.
Utilities – There’s more you should know about the electricity and plumbing of the house, other than if it’s included in the house rent. It pays to check if the plumbing and wiring facilities accommodate your lifestyle. Will you have to suffer a rude shock of cold water in the shower if someone else turns on the hot water in the kitchen sink? Will the water pressure turn into a trickle if taps in more than one bathroom are turned on? Just flipping switches to see if they work is not enough. Check that the wattage stays constant when gadgets are used all over the house at once. Such niggles just sap precious time when it is of the utmost essence.
Spic and Span – A freshly painted house might seem new and welcoming at the first look. It’s when you actually start living there, that you realise you have overlooked some major groan-worthy factors – gaping spaces between the air-conditioning and the walls, mould around the shower cubicle, tarnished bathroom fixtures, missing pieces of carpeting, and worst of all, a family of roaches living in the dark corners of musty kitchen cabinets. It is wise to spend a fair amount of time going around a house, once you find one, with Sherlock’s magnifying glass. Visit the place in daylight and at night. The problems you notice may not be grave, but can be fixed by the landlord or previous owner before you move in. Sure, you can just live with a broken tile, but you don’t want them to take it out of your security deposit if you ever move out.
Parking and Pets – An apartment may be spacious and well furnished, and have all the elements you are looking for in a home. But it may be in a busy, commercial area of town where you might have to drive around the block a couple of times to find parking space. The task might be more daunting over the weekends – something to mull over before you accept the keys.
Not only must pet owners find out if pets can share your space, but also if regular visitors can bring pets along, as some owners have very strict rules about this.
Safe and Sound – There may be an intercom at the entrance of the building, but nobody will tell you that it’s kaput. Ditto for the fire extinguishers; they may not have been serviced in years. Parents of little kids may want to check that windows function properly and the railings of balconies are high enough to contain eager kids.