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  • Writer's pictureMortgage Tree

Going for a house viewing? Here's what to look out for - including candles, phone reception and where the sun is.

By Emily Mee, from the Money team

It's easy to get caught up when you're looking for a new home - there's lots to think about, plenty of stress and sometimes you end up overlooking issues that become a problem down the line. 

We've got Paula Higgins, chief executive of HomeOwners Alliance, to give us a comprehensive guide on what you should look out for at a house viewing (whether you're renting or buying).


Signs of damp and mould - this is a pretty big one for renters in particular. Ms Higgins says you should watch out for fuzzy paint coming off the walls, and  be "very suspicious" of homes that only have a fresh coat of paint in the bathroom (a hotspot for damp and mould) because they "might be hiding something". It's also worth checking lower ground rooms and outside walls for the issue. 

Check the walls and ceilings - look out for flaky plaster. 

Look for storage space - is there space to put your vacuum cleaner, tall brushes, shoes and coats? In the bedrooms in particular, you should take note of whether there are built-in cupboards or whether you'll need to buy any.  

Which way does the house face? Notice where the light comes into the house - particularly the garden. Ms Higgins says she knows people who bought houses and ended up moving to the other side of the street for this reason. You should also consider that some rooms will be naturally warmer or colder than others and this may affect what you use them for. 

Don't be fooled by staging - bear in mind that some sellers will have paid for home staging and in some cases there will be little furniture - so you should consider where your clutter will go. 

Look out for lots of candles - this could be perfectly innocuous, but Ms Higgins said they could also be "masking something". 

Check the windows - look out for draughts or windows that won't open. You should also check the energy efficiency of the property. 

Look at where the power points are - this is particularly important if you work from home, and some older homes may have fewer power points. 

Check the phone reception - Ms Higgins says it can be "surprising" to find bad reception in some built-up areas. This might be different for different providers, but you can look this up online too. You may also find some rooms have better phone signal than others. 

Check the soundproofing - particularly if you're in a flat. 

Visit at different times of day - this can help to give you a better idea of whether an area feels safe, how the nearby transport is and how noisy neighbours are. 

Talk to the neighbours - Ms Higgins say you can "get amazing amounts of information" about an area from neighbours. If you can, try to pluck up the courage to knock on a neighbour's door and ask what the area is like and, if it's a flat, how well it is managed. 

Check the parking - look at the options for parking at the property or near by and also consider the cost if you'll need a permit. 

Do your research in advance - it's not worth wasting your time on places that won't meet your needs. You can look on Google Maps to see nearby public transport or how long it takes to things. You could also think about doing virtual viewings to get an initial feel of a place - though Ms Higgins says you should always visit in person as well before going for it. 


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