Possible dealbreakers

When looking at a property for the first time, it is infinitely beneficial to have a check list that will help you hone in on flaws that are not so obvious at first glance. It will help you keep an eye out for potential red flags.

Here is a list of things to look out for before you go any further:

  • Damp. Obvious markers include mould and wallpaper that seems to be peeling. Condensation on windows is another indicator.
  • Ceiling problems. These can range from cracks and stains to slow drips and problem leaks.
  • Open doors and windows. Shut every door behind you as you're being shown around to make sure they all work – including cupboards and drawers.
  • Flick switches. Check the age of the wiring too, as updating electrics can be very costly.
  • Count power points. Test all the sockets.
  • Inspect the plumbing. Any leaks are a sign of more expenses ahead.
  • Central heating. The bill potential this holds is huge. 
  • Door locks. Most policies insist that front and back doors be fitted with a five-lever mortice deadlock. Check windows for locks and the front door for break-in signs.
  • Lift mats and rugs. They could be hiding some very nasty surprises you will surely want to know about.
  • Check your mobile signal. Make sure you’re not buying property in a dead zone.
  • Woodwork. Check timbers for rot, cracks or holes.
  • Roofwork. If possible, go on a rainy day, to see if the gutters leak.
  • Check out the neighbours. Be wary of neighbours' properties that look rundown. Their problems can quickly become your problems.
  • Think twice if the seller seems unreliable. A property's not good value if the vendor doesn't want to sell it. You could waste thousands in fees.

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