Are you on the hunt for a new place to call home? If so, you’ll likely have a long list of things you’re looking out for in potential properties you’re viewing. Aside from indoor space and proximity to amenities, you should also be looking for potential problems. To ensure you don’t get scammed or forced to fork out a fortune, here are some things we recommend you keep an eye out for.

Electrical and gas pipework

Ask the estate agent when the wiring and pipework in the house you’re looking at was last replaced. As a rule of thumb, you can expect to carry out a full property re-wire every 20-25 years. This is so that the property remains safe and efficient. If the house you’re viewing is older than that and has no record of being re-wired, you’ll need to foot the bill if you choose to buy, and this can be more on the pricey side. It’s always worth asking the question as it may not be immediately obvious if a re-wire is due.

Broken roof tiles

Maintenance is a big part of owning a home, and despite efforts, things often need replacing over time. Whilst this isn’t a problem, you should be weary if you notice broken or missing roof tiles on houses during a viewing. Repairing or indeed replacing a roof can be expensive, and it’s not something you’d expect to have to do when you buy a house (unless it’s old and has been left empty for a longer period of time).

It can be difficult to tell the state of the roof, but make sure you make an effort to look up when viewing a house you’re potentially going to buy. Not only is a broken roof expensive to repair, but it can pave the way for all manner of issues, including breached security and damp, not to mention small animals making their way inside.

Wet walls/mold

If the house you’re looking at has a damp issue, it should be relatively easy to notice. Tell-tale signs of damp include black mold on the walls, ceiling, or around the windows, peeling paint or wallpaper, and a musty smell when you walk in the room. Sometimes, damp can be attributed to something simple like condensation which is relatively easy to fix, but other times, professional damp proofing may be required to prevent substantial damage from affecting the structure of the house. If you notice any symptoms of damp, make sure you raise it with the estate agent because it could be indicative of a more complex and costly issue.

Japanese knotweed

Not many people know about Japanese knotweed, but it’s worth researching because it can be extremely detrimental to homeowners looking to sell their house in the future. Outside of south east Asia, it is an invasive species that can cause huge problems. It can grow through concrete and masonry, with its roots often extending underneath properties, posing the threat for structural instability. It is also incredibly dense which makes it almost impossible for other plants and shrubbery to grow.

Unfortunately, Japanese knotweed is almost impossible to get rid of, and oftentimes has to be removed by contractors who specialize in it so that it doesn’t spread into the wild. This can be costly, so keep an eye out for it in the garden or even neighboring gardens of the house you’re viewing.


It’s almost impossible to buy the perfect house and compromises have to be made, but the above points should be considered carefully before you sign on the dotted line, otherwise you could find yourself spending a lot of money to make the property livable before you even move in.

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