If you’re on your second or third viewing of a house – as difficult as this sometimes is – it’s important to remember not to let your heart rule your head.
Instead, be on the look out for some of the following property problems and then make a list of any issues – you can always ask the seller to fix these before moving day or get your surveyor to give you their honest opinion of the overall property and the price at a later date.
Take a look at the outside walls and check for cracks, rotten woodwork and mould.
Obviously we don’t expect or advise you to climb up there to have a look but we do recommend that you take your binoculars along with you to check the roof for slipped or missing tiles. And if you’re able to view the house on a rainy day – great! That means you’ll be easily able to spot leaky gutters and the like.
Poorly installed or aging door locks can affect your ability to get home insurance for your property and therefore it’s really important to make sure that they are up to standard. Nowadays, most policies insist that external doors are fitted with a 5 lever mortice deadlock.
Be as thorough as possible and use all your senses to suss out whether the property you’re interested in suffers from damp. For example: can you see any wet patches on the walls? Mould? Sagging wallpaper? Condensation on the windows? And does it smell musty?
Don’t forget to look up when you’re viewing your house. Watch out for ceiling cracks, brown stains and drips. If you decide to go for Home Buyers Report on the property, these issues might not be as pressing or as costly as you think, but it’s good to be prepared for the worst.
Electrics can be pricey to sort out so do try and switch lights off and on and ask questions about how old the wiring is and when it was last tested.
It might seem a little bit odd to do so on a viewing, but make sure you flush the toilet and turn the taps on to check the pressure and temperature of the water.
If you’re not viewing your prospective property in winter, the seller might not have the heating on – but this is another important thing to check as replacing boiler or updating the central heating system can be another costly job. So ask politely if they’d mind turning it on so you can check that all works as it should.
A quick trip up into the attic will allow you to inspect the woodwork up there and check timbers for rot and any holes or cracks.
Once you’ve taken a note of any issues and decide to go ahead with the purchase of the property, it’s a good idea to speak with the surveyor who is carrying out your Homebuyers Report and let them know your concerns. Of course, it’s likely that any such problems will be flagged up in their report but it still good to speak with them as they should be able to offer you impartial and expert advice about any issues with the house that could save you thousands in the long-run.