Buying a house is an exciting time, and when you’re going to view properties it’s so easy to get caught up looking at the space, the lighting, the kitchen, bathroom and other crucial details that you can overlook some of the smaller things. But there are certain clues and signs to look out for when you’re viewing a property that can tell you about its condition and any problems that could be lurking underneath. If you’ve already been to view a house that you love, before putting an offer ask to go back and see it a second time.
On that second visit, you can look out for these specific things to get an idea what work might need to be done, and if you should adjust your offer accordingly.
Damp/ mold/ condensation
Damp and mold are huge problems in homes. It looks unsightly and it can actually be a health hazard too since mold releases spores that can irritate your respiratory system. Sometimes getting rid of damp is an easy fix, extractor fans and a vent being added could solve the issue. Other times it can be a sign of a more serious problem such as rising damp, or the need for new windows to be fitted.
Have a look at the windows and see if lots of condensation has pooled on them since this can be a sign that things aren’t quite right with the ventilation situation.
Signs of pest activity
Pest activity might not be obvious on your first visit to a property, so go back to take a closer look. Look out for frayed carpets which can be a sign of carpet beetles, chewed woodwork which can be a result of rodents or any areas of slug or snail slime. If the owners have pets, particularly if you see them scratching then be aware that there could be flea eggs in the carpets.
It might not be a reason to not buy the property, but you could ask the owners to have a pest control company to resolve the issues before you move in.
Cracks in walls and ceilings
Cracks are sometimes nothing to worry about, but it’s always worth having them checked out. Sometimes they can be a result of subsidence which can be a very expensive job to fix. Look out for things like large trees close to the house, since their roots can affect the foundations and lead to subsidence. Having a full survey done before buying will alert you to any major issues like this.
But it doesn’t hurt to have a proper look yourself and speak to a professional if you have any concerns. Again it might be a case of negotiating a lower price if there’s work that needs to be done.
What tips do you have for anyone in the process of buying a house that can easily go unnoticed?