Red flags can be easy to spot, but what about more subtle signs that something is amiss?
While red flags may be clear deal-breakers while house hunting, you may come across smaller concerns that could warn you about issues in the property you’re looking for.
From fresh paint to problematic water pressures, property expert Terry Fisher at We Buy Any Home warns against ignoring these ‘beige flags’ and to keep an eye out for them while looking for your dream home.
While viewing a house with freshly painted walls is appealing, take it with a pinch of salt as it may point to underlying issues, according to the property expert.
‘Many people give their home a coat of paint when getting ready to sell it, but it could be used to cover up some problems,’ said Terry.
‘Stains, water damage, and mould can all be easily covered with paint but won’t stay hidden for long.’
This can lead to dealing with problematic issues you weren’t prepared for when you bought the house, and even incur high costs to get the problem sorted out.
Heavy air freshener
Smells overwhelmingly nice when you walk in? Don’t assume this is a good thing.
‘Strong air freshener could be covering up the smell of smoke or pets, which might take some work to fully remove but isn’t necessarily a problem,’ said Terry.
However, strong scents may cover up larger problems, such as damp or plumbing issues.
‘Pay attention to strange smells, which could suggest mould, rotting wood, sewer problems, or other concerns,’ he added.
Inconsistent room temperatures
Pay attention to whether some rooms feel unusually hot or cold compared to others as it may point to a couple of issues.
‘This could indicate problems with the heating, ventilation, or insulation systems,’ said Terry.
‘Energy efficiency is crucial for both your comfort and utility bills, and insufficient insulation can lead to cold and draughty rooms, resulting in higher heating costs,’ he added.
Make sure you also check that the property has double-glazed windows and proper insulation in the walls, roof, and floors.
Patches of fresh plaster
Like fresh paint, fresh plaster could be a sign that things have been covered up.
‘Small cracks might just be from the house settling but could be a sign of more significant structural issues,’ said Terry.
‘Cracks can also be caused by fluctuations in humidity and temperature and even vibrations from nearby traffic.’
If they’ve been plastered over, it’s hard to tell whether they’re small cracks that aren’t much to worry about, or larger cracks that can cause serious problems.
‘Look out for plaster above door frames, especially if the door doesn’t close properly, or diagonal plaster that looks like a staircase, as these can be signs of structural damage,’ he said.
Low water pressure
Low pressure isn’t what anyone wants, as it could point to plumbing problems.
‘Some issues, like blocked pipes or faulty taps, can be simple to fix, but some can be much more expensive, like corroded water lines and leaky pipes that can even contaminate your drinking water,’ said Terry.
Double-check the taps and showers to ensure the water pressure is fine throughout the house.
In the UK’s climate, dampness is a common issue that can affect properties, especially older ones.
‘Keep an eye out for water stains on walls or ceilings, a musty smell, and peeling wallpaper or paint,’ said Terry.
Make sure that the property has adequate ventilation and ask the seller about any history of damp problems.
‘Look for stains on walls, ceilings, or floors, as they may be signs of previous leaks or ongoing moisture issues,’ he added.
‘Check the gutters and drain pipes around the property to ensure water is adequately directed away from the foundation.’
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