Viewing a house: things to look out for

Viewing a house: things to look out for

author: Bryony Pearce

By Bryony Pearce

From storage space to structural issues, if you’re moving house, don’t put your money down until you’ve done these 12 property checks.


Viewing houses is a super exciting time. But, when you’re lost in the moment thinking about what colour to paint your new living room, it can be easy to overlook some fairly significant elements.

If you’re investing your life’s savings into a new home though, the last thing you want is to put a deposit down, move in, only to realise it’s littered with issues you can’t live with. So, here are 12 things to look out for.

1. Your surroundings

Try to arrive 20-25 minutes before your estate agent to give yourself chance to scope out the area, get a feel for your potential new neighbours and neighbourhood, and scout out local facilities.

To paint an accurate picture it’s a good idea to visit the property at a few different times throughout the day - i.e. during the day, rush hour, and night.

2. The road

Sticking with your surroundings, don’t forget to take note of the type of road the property’s sat on. If rush hour’s a nightmare and you’ll end up spending 10 minutes every morning trying to get out of your drive, is that something you can live with?

Or, if it’s right by a school, has street parking, and the road’s going to be filled with parents dropping off and picking up their children twice a day, could you cope with that?

3. Age of appliances

If things like the bathtub, toilets, radiators, sinks, and shower are looking well and truly worn down, you might need to replace them before you can start putting them into use. And, if you do, the costs will soon rack up, so do the maths and see if it’s within your budget first.

4. Number of sockets

From your hoover, TV and toaster to your hairdryer, kettle and phone charger, there are lots of things you’ll need to plug into the wall from time-to-time - if not 24/7. Take a note of how many sockets the house or flat has versus how many, roughly, you’ll need, and see if there’s enough.

That’s not to say the property should be a no-go if it’s lacking a socket or two, but, as with point number three, get some quotes and do the maths before you buy - because fiddling with the wiring can be pretty expensive.

5. Don’t just use your eyes

Of course, scrutinising everything with your eyes is essential, but don’t forget other important senses too, like smell. Use your nose to sniff out any unusual smells, because they could be the result of a semi-serious problem - like damp, mould, or dodgy pipes.

6. The storage set-up

The last thing you want is to move in, put half your belongings away, and then realise there’s no space for the rest.

So, while you’re looking around, try and picture where everything would go. Does the kitchen have enough cupboards for your pots and pans? Is there space to store towels and spare linen? Is there enough floor area to house children’s play boxes?

7. Check your signal

Pull out your phone and make a call to see how strong the signal is. After all, you don’t want to be cooped up and uncontactable to the rest of the world whenever you’re at home.

8. Are you on a slope?

Having a house on a fairly steep slope can cause a couple of problems. For starters, it could mean it’s more vulnerable to flooding. And for seconds, it could make it more difficult to access during winter if a bout of snow falls - particularly for the elderly.

9. The interior design

How do you feel about the property’s current flooring, lighting, and walls? If it all needs refreshing before you can move in this’ll take time and money, both of which should be factored into your final decision.

10. Potential structural issues

Your surveyor will know best when it comes to spotting and analysing structural risks, but there’s no harm in giving the house an initial once over yourself first.

If you know you’re not willing to fork out for structural work then you know the property’s not for you, and even if it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road, you can give your surveyor a head start.

When it comes to spotting structural issues, look out for cracks in the walls or ceiling and pay particular attention to areas where extensions join, end-of-terrace walls, and bay windows.

11. Look for damp

The walls are an obvious spot to start with, but don’t be afraid of shuffling the furniture around to see if there’s any damp hiding behind the bed, sofa, or paintings, for example. Damp could be an indication of a structural leak, which, if it’s caused rotting, can cost an awful lot to repair.

12. Which way does it face?

If the house faces the south you’ll be spoilt by lots of natural light and warmth during the summer months. If it faces the north though, you’ll miss out on both. If you’re not phased either way this one might not be a biggie, but if you’re a natural-light-lover it’s something to bear in mind.

After more advice like this? Then head over to our dedicated home improvements, buying a home, and renting hubs.

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Bryony Pearce

By Bryony Pearce

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Viewing a house: things to look out for Viewing a house: things to look out for