Five red flags to look out for when viewing a house

IT’S easy to get blindsided if you’ve fallen in love with a house – but it could mean you’re ignoring some BIG red flags that could end up costing you thousands.

You might not have noticed the mould on the walls, or the leaky roof – which are problems that could end up costing you up to thousands of pounds to fix if you end up buying it.

The Sun’s property experts Rea Hill and Tonya Barnard explain how to spot red flags on viewingsCredit: JOHN McLELLAN

But our property experts Rea Hill and Tonya Barnard – known as the Property Twins on social media – explain how to spot when the property you’re viewing has hidden issues.

They have decades of experience between them buying, selling and renting out homes.

We will be featuring their advice and top tips as part of a six-part series. Send your questions to [email protected].

They’ve already discussed the common mistakes you need to avoid as a first time buyer, and how to add thousands onto the value of your home.

Here’s what they have to say about making sure how to spot whether the home of your dreams comes with a hidden price tag.

Look at the roof

You might feel a bit awkward asking if you can go into the loft to check it out on a house viewing.

But its really important to do this in order to check out whether the roof has any gaps.

You can tell if there’s a gap in the roof by spotting dashes of light coming through gaps in the tiles.

Make sure to check it out before you step through the front door, and when you go into the garden – any cracked or missing tiles should ring alarm bells.

It might sound extreme, but it might mean that you need to replace the whole roof – and that’s a big job worth thousands of pounds.

Our friends, who are a couple, bought a beautiful cottage – it was a stunning listed property.

They offered the full asking price for it, and didn’t bother to do a structural survey as they just wanted to get a deal over the line.

But when they moved in, they discovered the roof was severely damaged, with big leaks you could see bleeding into the bedroom ceiling.

It caused a lot of damage, and they had to get half of the roof repaired – as well as the bedroom ceiling.

The whole works would have cost them around £7,000.

Check the windows

When you’re at a viewing, make sure to check all the windows in the house.

If they are in bad condition, it could end up costing you up to tens of thousands of pounds easily to replace – especially if they are rotting.

Also have a go at opening and closing the windows – if this is hard to do, then the chances are you’re going to have to get new ones.

Look for bad paintwork – which could mean the wood is in really bad condition – as well as chipped panes and single glazing.

Rea bought an old cottage and after she moved in discovered one of the double glazed windows had blown.

When a double glazed window blows, it means condensation forms between the two frames of glass – which means it is in poor condition and needs replacing, costing you a few hundred pounds.

See the fuse board and boiler

Checking that your electric and heating systems are all in order is a must.

To do this, check the fuse board and boiler.

If the boiler looks old, dated and damaged, beware – it probably needs to be replaced, which could cost you between £3,000 and £5,000 for a new one.

When you’re checking the fusebox, it’s a red flag if it looks super old.

You might have to repair it, which costs between £500 to £700 – but you might even have to rewire it if it’s in really poor straits, which could cost thousands.

Tonya once purchased a property, and didn’t do this simple check when doing a viewing.

When she got the keys, she soon discovered the fuse box wasn’t fit for purpose – and needed rewiring.

It cost her £3,000 – and was a big expense.

Fresh paint

You might think the smell of fresh paint is a sign of the sellers making an effort to do up the house for your visit, but it usually is a sign of something being covered up.

It could be that they’re trying to cover up cracks, damp or mould – which could indicate there might be issues with the house that need fixing.

Our friends once went for a house viewing and the property was freshly painted.

They thought it was lovely that the seller had made it look nice for them and they made an offer – which was accepted.

But come moving in day, they soon realised that the paint had been covering up mould.

They had to get the property stripped back and damp proofed to rectify the damage – which probably cost them thousands of pounds.

Check out the neighbours

Is the house you’re viewing by a pub, an off licence, a restaurant or a shop? Be warned that you might not get a mortgage for it.

Lenders might think that the property will be harder to sell in the future because of who your neighbours are.

That means that they may not offer you the full mortgage you need – or they might not even offer one at all.

Tonya wanted to buy a property recently, which was next to an off licence. 

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But when it came to getting a mortgage for it, she really struggled. 

In the end, her lender declined her application – just because of its location.

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