Buying a property is an exciting – and stressful – time for most people. There are a hundred and one things to think about, from financing the purchase to packing your possessions up ready for the move. However, before you reach this point, you need to make sure the property you have fallen in love with is actually worth buying – and not a total wreck. Here are some red flags to watch out for when viewing a property. If you spot any of them, consider paying a professional to take a closer look.

Signs of Damp

Damp often affects older properties, but this does not mean you should rest on your laurels if you are interested in a new property. Damp can be difficult – and expensive – to eradicate. Look out for signs of water damage, peeling paint on walls, and salts coming through the plaster. If you do suspect damp, contact a water restoration professional to find out how much it could cost to fix.

Blocked Drains

Blocked drains and damaged sewers cause no end of problems for homeowners. Any number of things can cause blockages, from tree roots to leaf debris and stones. Always check exterior drains to see whether there is a buildup of stagnant water. If there is, it will cause damp in adjacent walls. If you do spot any problems, it is worthwhile having a drain survey conducted.

Nasty Smells

Nasty smells are difficult to identify, but potential causes include dead rodents in the cavity walls, blocked drains or poor plumbing, damp plaster and timber, and pet damage.

Rotten Timber

Timber does not last forever, so if the windows of your prospective new home are made from wood examine them closely for signs of rot and decay. If paint is chipped or in disrepair, sills are soft and glass loose, the windows will probably need replacing, which will be costly. However, one thing to remember is that replacing old windows will save you money in the long run, as older windows offer less insulation, which has a negative effect on energy bills.

Don’t forget to check internal timber floors for signs of decay too. The rotten timber will need chopping out and replacing, which is tricky if you are dealing with floor joists.

Exterior Cracks

Take a good look at exterior walls and see if there are any signs of subsidence. Listing walls and significant exterior cracks through walls and render can be caused by sinking foundations. You can fix this type of problem, but it will be expensive. If you have any concerns about the structural integrity of a building, call in a structural surveyor to take a look.

The Roof

The roof is a pretty important part of any home, so look out for missing tiles or shingles, holes, cracked flashing, broken gutters and downspouts, and any other signs of damage. If the roof is not in good condition, water will find a way in and cause all kinds of problems.

Never buy a home without inspecting it from top to bottom. If you miss anything important, it will be an expensive mistake to make.

Bill Clark is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing about culture and the arts, however will write about anything that piques his interest including business, travel and lifestyle.  @BilboClark01