Buying a terraced house

Page 1: Pros and cons
Page 2: Inside the house

Hannah Shanks - Editor

Once Inside

The interior of the property is obviously going to be of great importance to your house-hunting process, but in a terrace house there are certain factors you should be aware of, and questions you should ask yourself when viewing the house:

  • Terraced houses often have narrow staircases and hallways, making the manoeuvre of furniture and large items much trickier than usual. When viewing the property, consider the practicalities of getting your furniture into the respective rooms within the house
  • Compact terrace houses can suffer from a considerable lack of storage. You might want to consider the amount of storage you will need, and whether the storage available will be sufficient for you or your family.
  • Privacy can also be an issue in tightly organized terraced properties. Take a moment to have a good look out of the windows in all rooms, and consider whether you are comfortable with the amount of privacy afforded in bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • Remember that, in a terraced property, you'll be sharing internal walls with your neighbours - noise from your neighbour's shower or toilet could be a nuisance if the plumbing is in the shared wall.
  • How much sunlight will your living space enjoy? Terraces facing east or west will get sunlight during the mornings and evenings, whereas north facing houses tend to get too hot in the summer.

Heating


Terraced houses tend to be warmer than other property types because of their shared walls, potentially allowing you to save money on your power bills. While this is a definite plus associated with terraced property, consider how easy it will be to cool your house down in the warmer months can windows be opened fully enough? Can they be left open safely? You may also want to consider the added noise which open windows may allow into the property.

Garden and Outdoor Spaces

As previously mentioned, buyers are often forced to compromise on outdoor space when buying a terrace house. In light of this fact, consider these points when house-hunting to best prepare you for the realities of terraced-living:

  • Does the size of the garden meet your everyday needs? Is there enough room for children to play? If not, what are your alternatives? (Nearby parks, playgrounds?)
  • If you have or plan on having pets, consider their needs for outdoor space if you have a dog, is there a nearby park or open space which will compensate for the smaller garden? Will busy roads be a problem for cats?
  • Will the garden space get enough sunlight?
  • Is privacy going to be an issue when utilizing the outdoor space?
  • Some terraced properties have communal outdoor spaces consider the practicalities of this arrangement and the impact it could have on your home life.
  • If you have a car, find out about parking arrangements in the area how easy will vehicular access be? Is parking likely to be secure? Is the parking area well lit?

Noise

Due to the nature of the property type, terraced housing comes with an increased risk of unwanted noise from neighbours and nearby roads. Some people may find the rise in background noise and the proximity of neighbours a difficult adjustment to make, while others can quite easily become accustomed. Consider your own limits and those of your surroundings the proximity of your neighbours may prove a recurring issue if you are set on buying a terraced house. Here are some key points to consider if you're worried about noise levels in terraces:

  • Think about the floor plan of the property. Where are the bedrooms in the house located? The further these rooms are from obvious noise sources like main roads, the better.
  • Take a walk around the surrounding area and consider the effect it might have on noise levels. Are there nearby pubs or bars which might increase late night disturbance? Consider asking neighbours about the level of noise in the evening and at weekends.
  • Are the windows of the property double-glazed? While this will make a considerable difference to noise levels when the windows are closed, remember that in the summer months you will want to have windows open, increasing the level of noise at a time when it's more likely to be an issue.
  • The layout and plumbing of neighbouring houses can affect the level of noise in a terraced house, so consider finding out the plumbing situation of those properties either side of your own.
  • Remember that wardrobes, storage spaces and hallways can act as sound buffers between houses, and may reduce noise levels.
  • If the house you are viewing is empty and has no furnishings or furniture, try to remember that noise is significantly amplified when the property is empty curtains, sofas and carpets will drastically reduce the noisiness of a property.
 
 


Property pros