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Things to Check When Viewing a House: 5 Must-Knows

In the UK, the average house is £275,000, making buying a home one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your life and yet a recent survey found that almost three-quarters of brits find problems with their new home after moving in. 

Knowing the top things to check when viewing a house is essential to avoid costly mistakes. Read on for five things to keep a lookout for on your next viewing.

1. Potential structural problems 

A house’s integrity comes from its foundation, walls and general structure. If the property’s structure is damaged and needs repairing, it could cost you a fortune to fix.

If you see any of the following signs, you should ask the seller some questions and, at a minimum, get a chartered surveyor to check the property before you buy:

  • Cracks or bulging on walls and ceilings 
  • Soil pulling away from the exterior house walls 
  • Any signs of damage on the chimney 
  • Uneven gaps around the door or window frames 
  • Slopping, cracking, or sagging floors 
  • Sagging roof or signs of leaks 
  • Crumbling or cracking bricks

Always look for these potential structural problems when viewing a house, and keep in mind whilst some may look small, they could be signs of something much more severe. 

2. Random Fresh Paint 

Another red flag on a property is the amount of random fresh paint. It might look nice, but it could be there to hide something.

Typically, a fresh lick of paint is the most affordable way to prepare a house for sale. It makes the home feel fresher, which is what homebuyers want, so almost all sellers give it a go.

However, it’s suspicious when there’s only paint on a particular wall or area, and this should be a trigger to ask more questions. Try to look beyond the fact it’s a nicely painted area and consider why they’ve done it.

3. Amateur workmanship and repairs  

Most homeowners want to spruce up their homes with a bit of DIY. There’s nothing wrong with this, as some people are more than capable of doing quality work. But in some cases, the workmanship isn’t up to scratch.

You’ll want to look out for things like poor carpentry, shoddy plumbing, or suspect electrical work. These projects require professionals, and everyday people can sometimes make costly mistakes. For example, a loose live wire from dodgy electrical work could cause a fire.

When it comes to the utilities like gas, electricity, and water, be sure to ask when and who last serviced them.   

4. The neighbourhood 

Another property red flag isn’t the house itself – it’s the neighbourhood around it. You’ll likely live in this new area for a few years, so liking the area is a must. Just as important is getting on with the neighbours, especially as 60% of people in the UK don’t like their neighbours

It’s always a good bet to ask the seller what they think about the neighbourhood and their neighbours. As well as checking the local crime rates using a free service like CrimeRate

A few things to look out for include:

  • How well-kept other houses and gardens are
  • Quality of local schools
  • Local crime rate
  • Noise levels
  • Amenities
  • Travel options

5. Odd odours  

The last thing to check when viewing a house is the smell in each room. A dodgy odour could be signs of mould and dampness.

If you catch a whiff, try to find the source. Feel for spongy floors, peeling paint, and loose wallpaper, as these could all be signs of dampness in the house.

Most of the time, dampness is caused by poor air circulation, leaks and blocked drains which, if not fixed, can cause the damp to worsen, damage the house and, in the worst case, make the house unliveable for health reasons.

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Things to Check When Viewing a House: 5 Must-Knows - Kotini

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