Property viewing checklist:
What to look out for when buying a house

As prospective buyers, heading to a property viewing is an exciting time. The estate agents have hired professional photographers to come in with their wide-lens cameras on a sunny day, and now you’ll get to see if the house really looks like the pictures.

It’s key to remember a few crucial things about home viewings. As you’re guided around, watch out for some of the things we’ve listed below.

Finding some of them – or finding no evidence for them – could make or break your deal.

Cracks in the walls

These cracks could be on the outside or inside of the house.

We don’t mean small, hairline cracks that you might see in the plasterboard – these are usually just associated with the house ‘settling’ into position.

However, if you notice any large, wide cracks, it might represent more significant foundation issues.

These are, understandably, very expensive to get fixed, so they are essential to keep an eye out for.

Roof problems

Any issues with the roof can also be costly to repair and lead to further damage. These extra problems are usually associated with water damage.

Holes in the roof – for example, if tiles have come off – mean rainwater comes straight into your home, pooling in the loft and slowly making its way down through the floors and walls.

By the time you catch it, it could have caused significant structural damage (in extreme cases). Most of the time, you’ll at least find yourself with substantial damp-related problems such as mould or rot.

Check the roof from both the outside (perhaps from a vantage point) and inside, if the current owner permits.

Condition of the windows

The windows are, of course, an important part of the home, allowing light in while keeping cold out.

Check that they’re in good condition, and see whether they’re double-glazed. Any broken (or breaking) windows will need to be replaced, and you might also want to swap out any single-glazed windows for more energy-efficient alternatives.

While it might not be the first thing you think about, windows generally cost a few hundred pounds each, so the price for an entire house might quickly add up.

Ventilation and condensation

Keeping a house well-ventilated is the best way to keep any issues with damp at bay. A home with poor ventilation will develop problems such as mould, particularly in naturally wet rooms such as the bathroom or kitchen.

A sure sign of poor ventilation is condensation on the windows and mirrors. If you notice these signs, it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker. Still, you should be aware that installing more ventilation – such as extractor fans – will keep your costs down significantly in the future.

Cosmetic changes

Keep an eye out for visual-only modifications that the owner might have made. For example, fresh coats of paint or seemingly random rugs.

While these will usually be innocent, some homeowners might use techniques like these to cover up issues such as damp patches, mould, woodworm, or cracks.

There’s no need to act suspiciously, turning up every surface, but it’s certainly something to be aware of.

How can a home surveyor help?

A RICS registered chartered surveyor can help you buy a house by conducting a home survey on your behalf.

A chartered surveyor will have spent at least three years working towards their RICS-accredited degree, before another two years (minimum) on their Assessment of Professional Competence (APC), a work-based qualification. As a result, they’re highly trained and capable, meaning they’ll spot problems that most people might miss.

While they won’t be rude, a surveyor is expected to check things more thoroughly than the average home buyer. The owner is unlikely to have a problem with this.

The chartered surveyor will carry out their assessment, depending on the package you choose, and then provide a detailed report of their findings, including advice on proceeding.

Although the up-front cost is likely to be a few hundred pounds, their work could save you thousands in the long run.

We offer home surveys conducted by trustworthy RICS qualified professionals here at GB Home Surveys. If you’d like to get in touch with us, you can drop us an informal email at contact@gbhomesurveys.co.uk.

Looking for a quote, or maybe you have a question? Get in touch today.

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