‘Essential factors’ that’ll cause ‘warning bells’ when viewing a house

Sarah Beeny: Things to look out for when viewing a property

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Buyers could walk into a house viewing and not notice things like the mould on the walls, or the leaky roof – which are problems that could end up costing them thousands of pounds to fix if they end up buying it, as they are caught up in the prospect of owning a new house. Luckily, property experts at Allcott Associates have shared what buyers need to look for when inspecting their potential new home. They said: “Buying a house is a major decision to make. You’ve got to make sure the property is right for you and everything is functioning properly. Before you go for your next property viewing, be sure to look out for essential factors and identify any warning signals to ensure you make the right decision.”


Removing damp from a home is not only a costly job, but it’s also disruptive as the plaster needs to be knocked off back to the brickwork, meaning total re-decoration will be required too.

The experts said: “You can identify damp by the musty smell, mildew forming on the walls, peeling wallpaper, blistering paint, dark patches, discolouration and mould. It’s caused by moist air condensing on the walls and is an indicator of the structure and ventilation of the building.

“Damp can lead to health issues, woodworm and fungal decay, and it’s a big problem to get rid of.”

Structural problems 

Buyers need to make sure the building’s structure is sturdy. If not, the expert warned that a surveyor may be needed to assess this. 

They added: “Any big cracks across walls and joints signal that the building may be falling apart and may not be structurally safe. 

“A survey can also help you determine whether the building is a non-standard property, which are built using concrete frames and steel frames.”

Older buildings may have moved slightly over time with no risk to the structure, but this is something that must be checked out.

Faulty roof

When viewing a property, it is important to look out for any missing or displaced tiles or leaky gutters, which are particularly common in old or ageing roofs. 

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The gurus warned: “These tiles and gutters will need to be replaced, and maybe even the whole roof, which can be an expensive job. 

“Flat roofs are particularly a problem, as they have been constructed with cheaper materials. 

“If you notice any standing water or cracks in this roof, that should cause warning bells to start going off. You can always get a roof survey to make sure.”

Dodgy electrics 

If the sockets, switches, or consumer unit appear to be particularly old, they’re unlikely to meet modern safety standards and it could mean a costly and disruptive electrical re-wire is needed. 

The experts urged: “Check that all electrics work by flicking light switches and plug sockets on and off. Check that the oven, fridge and stove work. 

“Ask about electricity bills or any warranties on electrical items. Are any electric wires exposed or broken? If so, this could be very dangerous, so check their condition. It can cost a lot to restore and change electric circuits and a big task in partaking any electrical work.”

Bad neighbourhood

The property pros labelled this factor as an “important one” as they claimed that “location is everything when buying a house”. People are able to change the house but not its location.

Buyers should ask about crime rates, schools, transport links, local amenities, if there is a good sense of community and if neighbours are noisy. 

Old windows 

Run a finger down the window, is there condensation? This could indicate poor insulation and that there is a need for double glazing to be installed in order to save energy and keep the house warm.

If the window frames are cracked and rotting, they’ll need changing and shows that “the house isn’t very well kept”.

Rooms are too small

Make sure each room is of substantial size. Buyers need to ensure they can fit their furniture into the room. They could even take a tape measure just to check. 

The property experts warned: “Sometimes sellers try to be sneaky and put smaller furniture in the room to make it look bigger, but don’t fall for this.”

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