Buying a house has always been a stress-inducing endeavour for first-time buyers, but recent months have seen the process get a lot more difficult. This is not in the least due to significant hikes in mortgage interest rates, which continue a recent tradition of new buyers getting priced out of the market.

But house prices are also set to drop, creating new opportunities for buyers in the new year and potentially boosting the number of buyers able to get on the ladder at last. If you are one of this group, you might be booking viewings in the new year! But buying a house is not straightforward, and there are many barriers to entry that can scupper even the most promising of sales. Before your next viewing, what should you look out for to reduce the chance of this happening?

Structural Issues and Damp

Structural issues are essential to keep an eye out for when viewing any property and should be at the top of your list for when you undertake your own viewings. Structural damage is hugely costly to repair and can dramatically alter the affordability of a property in the medium term.

It is true that many structural issues or instances of damage are only uncovered after a professional survey is undertaken, but there are some tell-tale signs that could save you your time and money. For example, damp is a harbinger for potential structural damage, as persistent presence of moisture can rot load-bearing timber and weaken brickwork. Wall discolouration that seems to rise from the floor upwards can be evidence of damp, as can patchy paintwork that could well indicate attempts to cover damp damage.


Past the state of the home, there are some essential qualities you’ll be selecting for – of which space is a key one. The needs of each buyer will differ dramatically regarding space, but there have been some wider trends – most notably the ‘race for space’ which dictated much of the increased demand for suburban homes at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. For your own search, houses might have enough rooms but those rooms might not be big enough for your needs; be sure to keep some perspective on space when looking around.


Not only should you be actively thinking about the space afforded in each room, but also the amount and quality of storage in each space. While you might have future plans to renovate, your saucepans will need somewhere to live in the meantime! You might also want some extra storage space to account for a growing family; a utility space, garage or even shed would be extremely helpful criteria to add to your search.

The Estate Agent

Lastly, it is important to think about the estate agents responsible for a sale; are they reliable? Certain agents might have poor customer reviews, on account of poor customer service; they might ignore your specific search requirements and drag out your hunt, or otherwise hold up the buying process. These are hurdles you simply don’t need, and which can be avoided by choosing a well-reviewed agent from the outset.

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