House viewing tips

Whatever property you’re looking to buy, you need to know if there are any potential problems so you can be prepared for any further expenses.  If you’re planning to buy a property to renovate, then you’ll need to have an idea of the budget you might want to spend before you agree a purchase price.

While it’s always advisable to have a full survey carried out on the property, there are some things you can look for in advance of applying for a mortgage and having a building society survey carried out.

Starting with the outside of the house, look at the roof and the tiles.  Are there any missing tiles or slates?  Check the guttering and pipes to make sure there are no damp patches on the walls. Look at the chimney stack and the condition of the bricks and mortar – are there any plants growing out of it?  Look at the walls in general to see if they are in good condition – are there any cracks or damaged areas?  If there are any flat roofs, make sure there are no cracks in the roof covering or puddles of water which would indicate that drainage might be a problem.

Look at the drains and guttering to make sure they are clear of leaves and debris. If there are any damp smells it could indicate more of a problem.

Japanese knotweed can encroach on a property from a neighbour so check out each adjoining property, it’s an invasive weed which can damage pathways and walls and in some situations, affect the property.

Inside the property look for the general condition – note any cracks in the walls or ceilings, if there is any black mould then ventilation could be an issue.  It might be a lifestyle issue if windows aren’t opened regularly to allow the air to flow freely, or it could be that when the temperature is low, the property cannot hold the heat and the walls become cold which allows condensation to form on the inside of the building.

In the bathroom and kitchen, look carefully at the sealant around the sinks, baths and showers – water can cause significant damage if it is allowed to seep out.

Look at the windows, if there are wooden frames then check the condition to ensure they are not rotten. With PVC or metal frames, look and see if there is any brittle or cracked sealant.

All of the above can be fixed either by yourself or a tradesman – make sure you have an idea of the cost to carry out any repairs so that you don’t face any unexpected costs.