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What to Look for When Buying an Old House

  • 15 Apr 2021

If you’re looking for a new home, then you might find yourself drawn to older properties with period charm. These properties offer aesthetic qualities that cannot compare to their more recently-built counterparts. But buying an older property confers a great deal of risk, and thus, it’s worth thinking about what could go wrong before you make an offer. It might be that you can avoid significant problems with just a little vigilance at the early stages.

Here’s a look at a few symptoms that might indicate a deeper underlying issue…

Checking for Cracks

Any cracks in the foundation will need repair, as a matter of urgency. Looking for them early on will save you the cost of a survey. Look around any areas where work has been done. Bay windows and extensions are common sources of difficulty.

Check the Plumbing

Running the taps will reveal instantly what the water pressure is like. Can you spot any visible leaks or water damage? If you find visible pipes, then check their condition – you can be fairly sure that any wear-and-tear will be reflected throughout the property.



Repairing the damage inflicted by damp can be incredibly difficult. While it’s possible to manage the problem after you’ve bought the house, it might not be a prospect you relish. Visual clues are most likely to turn up on external walls.


While Asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999, it’s potentially still lurking in properties built before this time. You’ll most often find it in insulation, floor tiles, and decorative ceilings. In most cases, it doesn’t pose a threat until you start remodelling – but you’ll want to go into any new purchase with your eyes open. If you later discover that you’re living with asbestos, then you might be able to put in an asbestos claim with the help of a specialised solicitor – but in most cases, it’s better to try to avoid the problem in the first place.

Check the Roof

Patching up a roof can be incredibly expensive, especially if you’re obliged to maintain the look of the existing roof. Check the state of the roof relative to the surrounding houses. If it’s in better condition, then you might find that it benefits your insurance costs, too.

Check for Sound Insulation

Older properties might not enjoy quite the same level of soundproofing as you might find in a more modern home with within-wall insulation. In particular, you’ll want to think about whether the sound of the television downstairs can be heard in the bedroom. If you’re near a busy road, or you’re close to your neighbours, then listening out is especially important. Visit the area at multiple times of the day to ensure that you’re getting the fullest possible picture.

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