According to latest figures, the Northern Ireland Housing Market recorded its busiest quarter since the height of the property boom in 2007.
The data from The Northern Ireland Research and Statistics Agency (NISRA) revealed a total of 7,401 residential properties were sold in the last three months of 2020.
With more people spending time indoors, it's speculated that the lockdown period has had more people itching to move to bigger and greener spaces.
David Blevings, Ireland Manager for OFTEC, the trade association for the liquid fuel industry, has this advice for home buyers to consider when making the move:
Raise the alarm – An immediate action new buyers should take is to check there are working fire and carbon monoxide alarms installed. Carbon monoxide (CO) is particularly dangerous as it has no smell, taste or colour and can kill within three minutes. Without a working alarm, it is impossible to identify carbon monoxide leaks.
CO is traditionally associated with gas burning appliances. However, this isn't the case and is a risk when burning any fossil fuel including oil, coal, peat and wood. The message is clear for new homeowners, check your new house has working CO and smoke alarms and that they are in working order. Going forward make sure any fuel burning appliances are serviced by a professional at least once a year.
Heating requirements - Home buyers often overlook the type of heating when looking at their potential new home but before you purchase you should ask for a report on the condition of the heating system. A RICS Homebuyer report will give you an indication of the age and type of heating that is in the property. Liquid fuel boilers should be checked by OFTEC registered technicians, while gas boilers are inspected by Gas Safe technicians. Boilers that are well maintained will save you money in the long run by being more energy efficient.
Read the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – Buyers should be provided with the Energy Performance Certificate which gives information on the houses' energy performance rating and the estimated energy use, CO2 emissions and fuel costs. People are sometimes surprised with how much difference a good EPC rating can make to household bills and a lower rating will be something you'll need to factor into your expenses going forward.
It is easy to find registered technicians across Ireland from the OFTEC website using a simple postcode or county search.
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