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  • Writer's pictureDong Jun Xu

UK Home Buying Guide: Essential Checks for Your First Viewing

Are You Also Into Renovating Old Houses?

Buying a house in the UK, especially a traditional house, often means that the older the property, the more valuable it becomes. Renovating an old house can unlock tremendous investment potential.

However, knowing how to inspect a house properly is crucial. To avoid spending money on legal fees and survey costs only to discover significant structural issues later, it’s essential to focus on specific details during your first viewing.

Here are some key points to pay attention to:

Observing the Exterior:

  1. Inspect Wall Structure:

  • Check for structural issues like moving cracks or Z-shaped cracks, which might indicate foundation settlement. Also, check the number of air bricks.

  1. Front Door and Insulation:

  • Assess if the front door seals properly and its overall condition. Check if there is insulation above the bathroom ceiling.

  1. Gutters and Downpipes:

  • From the exterior or upper floors, examine the rainwater and drainage pipes for any looseness, cracks, or blockages. Check the corresponding interior areas for dampness, as broken pipes can cause wall dampness and mold.

  1. Manhole Location:

  • Check the position of the mainhole; it might affect future expansion plans, which is crucial for those planning to extend.

  1. Garden:

  • Estimate the garden length and its sunlight orientation. Adequate sunlight is needed for gardening in the UK. Check if there is a garden tap for watering plants.

  1. Invasive Plants:

  • Look for signs of Japanese knotweed, bamboo, or other invasive plants, including checking neighboring properties.

  1. Fences:

  • Inspect the condition of the fences; they might need repairs.

Interior Inspection:

  1. Interior Walls:

  • Check for cracks that correspond with exterior wall issues (paint can't hide severe cracks).

  1. Dampness and Mold:

  • Look for signs of mold or dampness on interior walls. Check corresponding exterior areas for moss, drainage issues, and around window sills. Use a moisture reader to check for rising damp below 1 meter on the ground floor walls.

  1. Doors and Windows:

  • Assess the sealing of exterior doors and windows. Check if they are double-glazed and if the hardware works properly. Look for signs of dampness around the frames.

  1. Kitchen and Furniture:

  • Ensure that any remaining kitchen cabinets and furniture are in usable condition. Check if there are designated spaces and power outlets for kitchen appliances like washing machines and dishwashers.

  1. Floor Condition:

  • Determine if the flooring needs replacement. Check for uneven or rotten spots in the floor voids.

  1. Loft Condition:

  • Inspect the loft for issues with walls, asbestos damage, or leaks.

Plumbing, Heating, and Electrical:

  1. Meters and Fuse Boxes:

  • Locate the water meter, gas meter, and fuse box. Ensure that switches work properly.

  1. Heating and Plumbing:

  • Check if the boiler and any retained fireplaces function correctly. Look for rust or leaks at pipe connections and ensure there are no gas leaks.

  1. Electrical Systems:

  • Test all lighting switches and electrical outlets to ensure they function properly.

  1. Ventilation:

  • Verify that the kitchen hood and bathroom exhaust fans vent to the outside and that there are mesh covers on the external vents.

If you have any questions about choosing, viewing, designing, or expanding a house, feel free to reach out to me for consultation.


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