The process of looking around a property, especially one that you may potentially commit to buying, can be a difficult challenge. There is only a small window of time within which you must assess the initial appeal of a place you might call home for a number of years. Additionally, there are limits as to how much you can investigate the property too. Since you won’t be able to lift up floorboards, for example, you will instead have to discern from telltale clues the inner workings of the property.

To help, we’ve put together a list of the five most essential things to look for when viewing a property. From there you should be able to tell if the property is likely to be a worthy investment and, more importantly, suitable to become a potential forever home.

Scrutinise Walls

Discovering damp can be easy. One need only catch a glimpse of mould or inhale the recognisable unpleasant odour of lingering moisture to recognise that a property will suffer from dampness. However, many sellers will do their best to mask this characteristic and will clean away mould, repaint, and ventilate the property for viewings. As such, it becomes more difficult to see what damage neglect could lead to.

Be sure to touch walls and check behind furniture. Cold surfaces may indicate a propensity for moisture collection, especially during winter, due to a lack of insulation. Signs will also include discolouration, as well as potentially warped paint and wallpaper.

Environmental Maintenance

Gardens can be immediately appearing, with luscious blooms and stunning log cabins, however, as pleasant as these might be on the day, they may not indicate how much maintenance goes into their upkeep. It might sound overly cautious but identifying and profiling trees, plants, and soil can be a great way to discern potential upkeep, such as weeding, as well as any weather-related risks, such as flooding.


Holding a lit match or piece of paper to each window is, perhaps, excessive but this should not prevent you from investigating draughts. The heating costs of houses, as well as structure quality, can be told through chill breezes that creep in and, if you miss them, you might end up having to replace windows and repair walls during your first winter inside the home.

Check Waterworks

Turn on each tap and check beneath each sink. You are looking for drainage issues and water pressure quality. Additionally, check for signs of leakage or disrepair in visible pipes. Any signs of low quality might also be indicative of boiler issues and, depending on the type of radiators used, home heating too.

Wiring Fundamentals

The electrics of a property are important to check because issues can be costly to repair, requiring not only a specialist to perform the work but a potential refitting of the entire home. Take the opportunity to switch on each light and socket, as well as search for any visible wiring and confirm their integrity. Any minor issue on the surface can tell of a much more significant issue behind the wall.