OFTEC Ireland issues advice to first time homebuyers

Home Heating Tips for Purchasing your First Home

With the Northern Ireland housing market showing signs of revival in 2013 and the number of first-time buyers at its highest in six years, getting a foot on the property ladder is a priority for many in 2014.

With this in mind, OFTEC, which represents the domestic oil heating and cooking industry, has issued some practical home heating advice on what to look for when moving into a new home.

OFTEC Ireland manager, David Blevings said: “Purchasing a first home is a memorable experience; however there are a number of things you may miss that could impact greatly upon your budget, ongoing household expenditure and running costs. With 68% of homes in Northern Ireland heated by oil it is prudent to ensure the heating system is running efficiently and safely for peace of mind”.

“Before you view a house try to do as much research as possible, so that you do not waste time with a property that does not meet your needs. On an initial inspection try to be practical and ask direct questions. Remember the seller doesn’t have to tell you about problems common cover-ups include painting over a leaking radiator or signs of damp.”

When buying a house look at the following:

  • Check have there been any problems with the boiler and when was it last serviced? Did you know an inefficient boiler could be devaluing your home? Ask how old the boiler is and when it was last serviced. If you are concerned ask the house owner if you can have the heating system appraised by an OFTEC technician.
  • Check the Energy Performance Certificate - Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) give potential buyers an upfront look at a property’s energy use and typical energy costs. An EPC grades the property’s energy efficiency from A to G and can be very helpful to home buyers, but only if you know what to do with it. 
  • How to read an Energy Performance Certificate: An EPC contains two particularly important areas, current features and recommendations for improving the home. The current features section lists the most significant energy-related features of the property and gives them a star rating based on cost.  The recommendations give more information about each energy efficiency measure recommended and explains in general terms how it would improve the energy efficiency of the home.
  • Is the hot water system adequate - How is the water heated? If you are a big shower fan turn the shower on and check the pressure. 
  • Look for warning signs - For example check for things like stained or smoke damaged areas around the boiler and flue (these can be sign of carbon monoxide leakage and MUST be treated as serious; leaks and staining on carpets near radiators and if the oil tank is secured and supported on a proper base.
  • Get the house properly checked - Get valuations, an RICS homebuyer's report or a full structural survey. The valuation carried out by a mortgage company is not a survey, and will not inform you if there are any defects that materially affect the property's value.
  • Trust your instincts - Does it feel like this could be your home? If you get a good feeling, then it is probably the house for you.
  • Book a service as soon as you move into your dream home – using a highly skilled OFTEC registered technician is strongly advised and can be found on the OFTEC website. Making this an annual event is strongly recommended by HSENI.


ENDS