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What to look for when viewing the inside of the house

Your 'inside the house' viewing checklist

Viewing a new house or flat is always exciting. But if you find a property that you fall in love with, it's hard to remember to look for things that may cause problems further down the line.

  • Scope out the local area as well as the property  
  • Arrange more than one visit 
  • Take your time when looking, and don't feel rushed 

What to look for when viewing the inside of the house

We’ve put together a checklist to help you. There’s some homework to do first, as well as our top 5 things to look out for when you’re viewing a house.



Check out the neighbourhood before you visit the property

It may be the perfect house – but is it in the perfect location? Wander around the local area before you go to the property; are there any shops, cafés, schools nearby? What about traffic? If your dream home is on a busy thoroughfare, will you get the peace and quiet you need? Try to visit the property at different times of day, too. If you’re viewing the property on a Saturday morning, you might not get the full picture of what life’s like in the area at rush hour.



View the property more than once

In fact, we’d suggest you see it as many times as you can before you make an offer. You’re more likely to spot potential problems or things that need repairing on a second or third visit. If your first viewing is at night, try to arrange a daytime viewing next time, so you can see the property in a different light.



Take your time

Don’t feel rushed by the estate agent or current owner when you’re having a good look around. Research suggests that people who take their time viewing a new property – around 20-30 minutes – are more likely to get it for under the asking price.



The top 5 things to look out for inside a property

As a new homebuyer, it’s important to look out for signs of potential problems or things that will need repairing once you’ve moved in. Most people are unaware that their home insurance won’t cover things like damp or dry rot – so you should look out for tell-tale signs.


Walls

Tell-tale signs:

  • Black mould on the walls or ceiling
  • Condensation running down the windows
  • Musty smell

What does this mean?

Mould growing inside the property could simply be a sign of bad habits by the current owners. For example, they may take really hot showers, or hang out damp washing to dry without opening a window. But it could also indicate that the property hasn’t been built with enough ventilation or insulation.


Bathroom

Tell-tale signs:

  • Cracked sealant around the bath or shower
  • Damp stains on the ceiling of the room underneath the bathroom
  • Black mould

What does this mean?

If the current owner hasn’t repaired cracked sealant around their bathroom fixtures and fittings, there could be significant water damage where you can’t see it. This could be extremely expensive to put right.


Windows and doors

Tell-tale signs:

  • On wooden windows or doors, check to see if the frame is brittle or rotted
  • On PVC windows or doors, look out for cracked, flaking sealant
  • Sloping or sticking doors

What does this mean?

Timber or PVC windows and doors that have been badly looked after may mean that the whole frame is rotten and is offering no insulation at all. You’ll need to get a tradesman to repair or replace these, which could cost you thousands of pounds. A sticking door could be even more problematic, as it may indicate the property’s foundations or outer walls have moved.


Flooring

Tell-tale signs:

  • Musty smell
  • Uneven flooring
  • Springiness under foot
  • Dampness on walls

What does this mean?

The flooring in an older property is often made of timber joists, which slot into the walls at ground level. This means they are susceptible to damp and rot. Left untreated or repaired, fungus in the wooden floor will eat away at the timber and could cause the floor to collapse.


Ceiling

Tell-tale signs:

  • Particularly wet or particularly dry and crumbly timber
  • Signs of fungal growth - look for white 'blooms' on the wood
  • A strong musty smell

What does this mean?

These signs could indicate either wet or dry rot in the ceiling timber. The rot will damage the wood and be difficult and expensive to repair. It will also make it extremely unsafe in the property, as the ceiling could give way. Wet rot can sometimes be dried out and repaired, whereas dry rot will need to be replaced entirely.

Remember to look at our house viewing ‘outside’ checklist too. Please be aware that these checklists are for your guidance only; always consider having your own independent survey carried out to uncover any hidden issues with the house you're buying.