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What To Look For When Viewing A House

If you’re planning to invest in a new home, knowing how to identify potential costly problems is the key to successful buying. Many sellers try to mask their homes’ problems in order to sell their properties for the asking price as quickly as possible. General DIY such as repainting, and even covering problems with furniture and accessories aren’t uncommon in today’s market as house prices remain low.

Buying a house with many hidden problems can be costly and stressful mistake. Some pointers of what to check for when viewing a house can prevent regrettable property purchases.

Hidden Damp

Damp is one of the most-hidden problems when selling the home. Damp’s not only unsightly but it can indicate serious underlying problems, leaks and can rot flooring. Check painted walls for patches which may have slightly discoloured as this could be masking damp. If a piece of furniture appears oddly placed in a room, check behind and under it as its sole purpose could be to hide a damp problem.

Damp can often carry an odour too, if the house smells musty and feels unusually cold it could indicate a damp problem in one of the rooms. Check bathrooms for mould; although every bathroom has a small amount of mould, excessive amounts could indicate more than leaky bath taps combined with poor ventilation.


Every home is prone to minor cracks in the walls that are generally harmless. However, when the cracks are diagonal and greater than a ten pence piece in thickness, progressively becoming wider at the top subsidence could be taking place. This means the house is essentially sinking due to changes in the foundations.

Subsidence can be caused by a number of different things including clay/soft soil, blocked/leaking drains, and shrubbery and trees.

The rate of subsidence depends on the building; some cases develop slowly whereas others are more aggressive. The financial and emotional consequences can be devastating, so having a surveyor run a thorough check on any home you intend to buy is vital.


Although trees surrounding the home can be picturesque and seemingly innocent they could be playing havoc with the foundations of the house. Tree roots are a major cause of subsidence, if there are trees surrounding the home it’s worth calling in a surveyor to advise you on whether they could prove problematic in the future.

Test for Yourself

Testing certain aspects of the home is one of the easiest ways to discover what’s in working order and what’s not. Test the lights in every room of the house to see if they firstly turn on and secondly flicker. If they fail to turn on, make a buzzing noise or flicker there’s a chance rewiring could be required. Look out for this in older houses as it can be a costly expense.

Turn the kitchen and bathroom taps on to check the water pressure. In homes that require renovation, check that the water runs clear. You could always do this by asking to get a glass of water or washing your hands if you feel uncomfortable testing them in view of the current homeowner.

Common sense is an essential element to buying a new home you’ll be happy with. If you get the sense something doesn’t quite feel right when viewing the home then avoid buying it. There are many hidden techniques homeowners use when selling their homes so buyers have to be one step ahead.

Written by Stephanie Staszko on behalf of Tapshop321 and Branded Bathrooms