Here we’re going to look at what to look out for when viewing property.
Whether you’re a first time buyer or looking to move to your dream home, it can be easy to lose sight of potentially costly and inconvenient issues amongst all the excitement of finding your next home, but it’s important to keep a close eye out for certain things when you’re viewing property.
If you’re looking for a project or you’re an investor, some things we look at here might not concern you as much, however, how you budget will always come into play.
Here’s what to look out for when viewing property, aside from the obvious things like size and location.
Discoloured walls, peeling or bubbled paper are warning signs. Sometimes the walls may even be wet to the touch. Look low down, are there any such problems within a couple of metres from the floor?
This could mean you need a damp proof course which can be expensive and the property could require a full re-decoration once you’re done.
Damp that’s coming in through the roof or even the walls. It’s important to find out what’s causing this as roof repairs can be expensive.
Mould is another sign of damp and you need to find out the cause. It could simply be down to poor ventilation if the property is currently empty but you may want to rule out penetrating or rising damp or build up a contingency fund just in case.
Subsidence is a major issue which not only affects how safe the structure is, it can also make it difficult to get finance and insurance. Can you see any uneven floors or large cracks in any of the walls?
If the property doesn’t have brick or stone walls with a slate or tile roof, you may have trouble getting a mortgage or buildings insurance. And even if you do, it may prove difficult to sell the property in future. Do your research if you’re considering a property of non-standard construction.
Depending on the age and condition of the electrics you could need a new consumer unit or even a full rewire – an expensive and time consuming job. If you’ve any particular concerns about the condition of the electrics in general, ask an electrician to check them out before you submit your offer.
Check out the practicality of the current setup too. Are there enough sockets for modern digital life or will you need to budget to add more or move existing units? Check the lighting too to see what you would want to change.
Really old houses and some flats won’t have central heating. For large old houses this will obviously give you a big job to do to get it installed.
Slightly newer houses may still need a new boiler or other remedial works so remember to factor this into your budget if there are any problems in this area. New boiler installs aren’t cheap.
Check the roof as well as you can. Stand across the road at the front and at the back of the property. Check it’s general condition and for any obvious problems such as missing or damaged tiles/slates.
You will need to fix anything that could lead to water ingress right away to avoid more problems such as damp.
Are there any random spots of fresh paint? Large furniture in strange areas? Cagey sellers or agents?
They could be hiding something like rising damp behind a sofa. Your surveyor won’t move large items to check so you need to do this yourself. Be bold and comprehensive, particularly on follow up viewings, and make sure you do all you can to expose hidden problems before you commit.
Whilst great for getting a deal, make sure there’s no sinister reasons behind them needing to escape. You can try and speak to neighbours to find out more about the property and the area, and importantly to find out who you would be living near to. Sellers may not reveal all the facts about their nightmare neighbours!
Look out for hidden pest problems. Pests that feast on woodwork for example can cause large-scale damage to floorboards that could be very costly to repair. Check under any/all loose carpets.
Be mindful of following all the current government guidelines and anything the estate agent or seller asks you to do to ensure everyone’s safety when viewing properties during Covid.
Looking for your next property?
We hope this helps you avoid problem properties, and even if you’re looking for a bit of a project, hopefully this will help you protect and manage your budget.
At E&M Property Solutions we’re a vibrant Burnley estate agency offering sales and lettings across the North West. We help people find their perfect home and we help investors build significant, diverse property portfolios.
Find out more about us and view our available properties here! If you want to discuss how we can help you, call our expert team on 01282 711560.