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Viewings - what to look for?

(23 Posts)
Icantfindausername Wed 07-Oct-20 07:35:47

I am soon to start viewing to move to a bigger house, when actually looking round a house what do I need to look for, for signs of damp or problems etc?


OP’s posts: |
IheartNiles Wed 07-Oct-20 08:17:02

Cracks in outside brickwork
Any flooding in house history
Smell of damp or obvious damp patches, wallpaper lifting, mold
Have a look at the roof, fascias etc- when was it last replaced
Go up in loft, can you see daylight? What do wooden joists look like any rot
Look at electrics, box, boiler- when we’re they last replaced
Turn on shower and taps to check water pressure

- that’s what I look for as an amateur.

Slightlydustcovered Wed 07-Oct-20 08:27:13

Agree with the above. I also look for patches of newly decorated wall etc. We viewed a house with 2 random painted walls. Turned out the roof was leaking. Check age of boiler/ heating systems and condition of Windows and doors as these are big ticket items. Nothing to worry about you just want to factor the cost of sorting stuff out in to your offer.

Asterion Wed 07-Oct-20 08:28:32

The main thing is to get a full structural survey, not a basic housebuyer's survey.

Asterion Wed 07-Oct-20 08:29:05

*homebuyer's survey

JoJoSM2 Wed 07-Oct-20 08:34:12

I’ve mostly bought fixer uppers so that I can do them up to my liking and fix any problems in the process.

In viewings, I’d be more concerned with the location: amenities, transport links, schools, how nice the road and surrounding roads are, the local demographics, neighbours, garden and overlooking etc.

Purplewithred Wed 07-Oct-20 08:35:37

Look at liveability - are the rooms arranged in a good way so all family members can live comfortably, is the kitchen a corridor, how many powerpoints are there (surprisingly important nowadays).

Crucially ignore the decor (good or bad) and any mess, clutter or easily fixable stuff like a nasty worktop.

165EatonPlace Wed 07-Oct-20 08:35:49

"Get a full structural survey"
Absolutely not. I paid for one of these some years ago, cost £600. Lots of comments along the lines of "not checked due to heavy furniture, carpets. Advised to contact specialist to check, test etc." Complete waste of money.
I would go for the survey between homebuyers report and full structural survey. We paid £375 + VAT in 2019.

IheartNiles Wed 07-Oct-20 08:42:08

Structural surveys are not that, they’ve correctly been rebadged building surveys. Unless you want to get a structural engineer in to look at foundations, trees and so on I don’t find them that helpful. Never seen one where I haven’t spotted anything myself. DH works in construction and I’ve learned what to look for. It’s not that difficult.

FTMF30 Wed 07-Oct-20 08:44:45

Do some detective work on your neighbours. Bad/good neighbours can make all the difference in your quality of life.

Tgink about how much privacy you will have/want. We bought a house and thought we had a lovely private garden. But this was only due to the back to back neighbours having a large tree. They cut the tree down last spring and all through the summer, they could see directly into our garden, kitchen and back bedroom.

boriselbow Wed 07-Oct-20 09:03:53

Remember to have a good look at the surroundings as well as the property itself- eg. parking (even if you have off road parking it could be a problem if others nearby don't as you may be blocked in/struggle for visitor parking etc), the state of neighbouring properties/gardens, are you overlooked, what kind of properties are around (eg. a nice big house next to similar sized properties let as multiple occupancy/split in to flats could be an issue- you may find your bedroom next to someone else's living room).

I'd also recommend looking round the area at different times of day/evening if you can.

In my experience most issues with the inside of the house can be fixed but external issues that might cause you problems are harder to deal with

Lifeandjoy Wed 07-Oct-20 09:07:04

Look at layout and think whether or not you can live with it or what you can do to change it at minimum cost.

2beautifulbabs Wed 07-Oct-20 09:30:46

Do random drive buys at different points of the day evening that too will give you a better understanding of any issues there may be with neighbours parking etc.
We done that recently while looking to buy we drove past the house and area first before arranging viewings to make sure that we also liked the area not just the house.
In terms of having long checks I don't think you will be able to spot every possible issue there may or may not be as here in wales viewings are only 15 min long due to covid you can arrange second viewings at another day but then you also run risk of losing a house you like as houses have been going very quick specially ones in the right areas.

I would say the only way you would know of any issues would be when you get the home buyers survey report and even then they sometimes don't pick up on everything it's one of the risks sadly being a home owner things break or leak and your constantly putting money into your house it's a never ending money pit.

Asterion Wed 07-Oct-20 11:05:27

Thanks for the info about "structural" surveys - I'll bear that in mind!

GreenBeeSW Wed 07-Oct-20 20:03:30

I have to disagree with the advice about building surveys. If you are a builder or fairly clued up on construction and buying a straightforward property then maybe dont bother... But personally, I pay a mechanic to fix my car and a chartered surveyor to inspect property. A building survey will not tell you everything, and may advise further surveys, but unless you are prepared to crawl around in the loft space and pull up all the drainage covers they could find things that you miss. We are not niave buyers, and have been told by EAs (with some irritation!) that we are "extremely thorough viewers". BUT we still find ourselves pulling out of a sale because surveyor discovered major underlying fault that could potentially cost tens of thousands. Very glad to discover it at this point, survey was worth every penny. Just make sure you use a good, local, recommended surveyor with experience in the kind of property you are purchasing.

pilates Wed 07-Oct-20 20:11:03

“Turn on shower and taps to check water pressure”
You can’t go in to someone’s house and start doing that. Can you? confused

ScarMatty Wed 07-Oct-20 20:17:44

Check the doors close.

A friend bought a house and on every viewing all internal doors were open.

They moved in and none of the doors fitted in the frame so they had to buy new ones for every room. They were just display doors!

Ridiculous, but I definitely check now

Pereie Wed 07-Oct-20 20:20:43


“Turn on shower and taps to check water pressure”
You can’t go in to someone’s house and start doing that. Can you? confused

If water pressure is a deal breaker for you I certainly would... on a second viewing if I had plans to offer.

MikeUniformMike Wed 07-Oct-20 21:25:57

Doors closing and opening properly.
Water pressure.
Damp - touch walls they'll feel cold if there is damp.
Check that internal walls have no bulges or cracks.
Old wallpaper in an old house will be several layers thick and superglued on
What the main lights are like and where the switches are.
The fuse box.
Brickwork and roof. any signs of movements, cracks, does it need repointing
That lovely wardrobe probably has a patch of damp or some other horrer hidden behind it.
Windows - are the frames in good condition or are they rotten ones painted over.
Double glazing
Signs of a previous burglary

Which way does the house face. East-west makes for a light house, south/north and it'll be baking/cold&dark
Will your furniture fit? some staircases mean mostly flatpack furniture upstairs

Quirky things like a little step to the front door will bother you if you have a baby.

When you move in there will be nothing in the rooms.

user1471538283 Thu 08-Oct-20 18:20:38

Check the roof is good, the electrics are modern and the boiler is a good age. Check on the neighbours. Check out parking.

Dahokolomoki Sat 10-Oct-20 21:02:05

Lots of good advice above already! Not much more for me to add, except... this is your time to do your due diligence. You have, maybe 3 viewings, before you put an offer in. Each 30 minutes max? So 1.5hrs to do Due Diligence for their biggest purchase of your life. Think about everything that could go wrong with a property, make a checklist, and go through it when you view.

Take lots of photos and maybe videos if you can, they'll be invaluable when you think of something you've missed to check.

But don't forget to follow etiquette - you might want to look into every drawer, open every bathroom cabinet, turn on every tap... and you probably can, but at least ask the agent before you do. And any tenants or the occupiers if they're there.

Here's a good comprehensive house viewing etiquette checklist I found useful.

Mellan Sat 10-Oct-20 21:06:26

If there is artex ask the age of it. If it's older than 2000 ask to see an asbestos certificate.

Ask for an electrical report.

Ontheboardwalk Sat 10-Oct-20 21:12:27


“Turn on shower and taps to check water pressure”
You can’t go in to someone’s house and start doing that. Can you? confused

Yep you should check the pressure AND the hot water

I’d seen on tv, so was an expert, that you need to run the taps. What I didn’t know was you should check there’s hot water

Moved in and no hot water and a broken boiler that needed replacing, not happy.

They’d ticked that the boiler was working and nothing came up about it in the survey,

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