Things to Look Out for when Viewing a Property

When viewing a property to buy, most people know to keep their eye out for obvious issues such as subsidence cracking and damp patches. They are also aware that sellers can use all kinds of tricks to make their properties seem more appealing but, as a surveyor, Marc often finds problems that potential buyers miss. We all know the frustration of thinking we’ve found an ideal property, making an offer, having it accepted, starting the whole process and then the surveyor finding something that could be a serious problem. As such, here are some of the less obvious signs that may indicate an issue to look out for when viewing a property.


Obvious damp patches are obvious but other signs might not be so clear. Peeling paint and flaky, bulging plaster can be signs of damp too. Look particularly closely along skirting boards and around ceilings for any irregularities in the paintwork (including freshly painted areas which may be covering up damp patches). The smell of damp is very distinctive and a common giveaway but be wary of strong air freshener smells or other powerful odours that could be being used to cover up more worrying smells.


People talk about kerb appeal when talking about the outside of properties but it is also worth having a look at the roof for any obvious signs of wear or damage. No type of roofing lasts forever and older roofs will need replacing sooner or later. Damaged tiles and guttering are also things to look out for as they can both lead to damp. A good way to check if water is getting in through the roof is to take a look in the attic if you can. Look for damp patches on woodwork and sniff out that tell-tale damp smell.


Lots of older properties in Brighton and Sussex have electrical systems which could desperately do with updating. An easy to see sign that the electrics might be old is that there aren’t really enough plug sockets for a modern home. Look out for extension leads with lots of sockets being used. It is also a good idea to have a look at the electricity meter and fuse board as these often need replacing in older properties.


Sash windows can be the bane of homeowners lives in this part of the world so it is worth having a good look at them in properties you are viewing. Check that they open and close reasonably easily and that there aren’t signs of damp like cracking and peeling paint. For all types of windows, check that they close properly and aren’t letting in huge drafts. Be wary of layers of fresh paint which could be hiding a multitude of sins underneath like cracking and rotten wood.


It is worth running taps and showers to check the water pressure and having a look at the boiler to make sure it isn’t very old. Check if the radiators are working, if you can, and find out where the hot water tank is as ones in the attic are likely to be old and highly inefficient.

While these kinds of checks (as well as looking out for the usual tricks like the lights all being on in the middle of the day and things being moved out to hide a lack of storage), can give you an idea about any issues a surveyor might find, they aren’t a substitute for a thorough inspection by a surveyor which are always a good idea before you commit to buying a property. If you would like a surveyor’s report on a property you are considering buying or are selling a property and would like Marc to check if there are any issues a surveyor would identify, please get in touch on 01273 281624 or email

Contact Us

Tate Surveying Services,
Freedom Works, Unit 7 Hove Business Centre, Fonthill Road, Hove, BN3 6HA

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