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You might have found the perfect house in the perfect neighbourhood, but don’t let the excitement cloud your judgement. There may be a few defects in and around the house that could cause serious problems in the future and cost you a lot in the long run.

A qualified surveyor or trusted contractor is always your best bet for a thorough investigation and to help you rule out any possible defects that you are unsure about. However, it is a good idea to have a general understanding of what to look out for.

Here are a few defects to look out for at a house viewing:



The main sign of dampness in a house is the mouldy smell, flaky plaster and watermarked walls or ceilings. It sounds obvious, but ensure you look closely at the ceilings and around the skirting boards. Dampness causes extensive damage to the property, it weakens the timber and the structure, eats away the floorboards, window frames and roof beams. If dampness is ignored it can cost you a lot in repair.

Exterior Cracks and Movement

The inside of the house can smell fresh from that floor varnish and paint, but the exteriors could cost you a fortune if you ignore it. The cracks in the walls are unsightly and also an indicator of serious structural problems. It is essential to know if a wall in the crack can be easily fixed with a bit of filler and re-paint or whether it needs structural repairs. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of the cracks and tilts in the house, especially if the property is a traditional home.

Pest problems

Depending on the area of the house, there are certain pests and insects that you need to look out for. The pests include mice, wasps, moths, ants and other wood-destroying insects. If you see too many of them, then it can be a severe pest problem. These pests cause a lot damage to a home that can cost you a lot to rectify.


Every house should have proper ventilation to ensure that the moisture in the home evaporates effectively. If the moisture sits in an area for a prolonged amount of time, it can cause issues. The areas that you need to pay attention to is the space between the roof and the ceiling. Proper ventilation in these areas will ensure the longevity of the roof and keep the interiors of the home dry at all times.

DIY repairs

While there is nothing wrong with DIY repairs, it is important to check they are done correctly. It is normal for a homeowner to undertake ‘do-it-yourself’ repairs around the home, so check the plumbing and electrical areas properly, especially in the bathroom. If you spot something that seems like it’s falling apart, address the issue with the seller.

These are just five defects to look out for at a house viewing. However, if you are unsure what to look for, hire a professional surveyor or competent contractor and receive a complete report.