If you’re about to embark on a house hunting journey, I bet you’re feeling really excited. I remember when we hunted for our new house, the days and weeks were filled with excitement, trepidation and hope. It’s the start of something new and fresh, a chance to put down roots in a new home and begin a new chapter in your lives. But there are stresses and pitfalls too, and it’s one of those in particular that I wanted to cover in today’s blog post.
Do you know how to look out for hidden dangers in a potential new home?
That sounds quite melodramatic, but it’s an important point and something we need to be properly educated upon before we begin our search.
There are certain things we are attuned to spotting, particularly when looking at an older house. For example:
Now this is a common one and probably isn’t that hidden away if you know what you’re looking for. The main thing of course, that we all know to look out for, is cracks. Often they’re quite obvious, and more than often they’re quite innocuous too. In my own Victorian house we have many cracks. Many. But there’s nothing wrong, it’s just movement over the years, and the consequence of us, or our neighbours, doing DIY and knocking the places about a bit.
I have to admit this one bothers me a bit, and you can’t always see what the issue is or what’s causing it. Looking for mould in the corners or from the floor, or lifting wallpaper or peeling paint is a good way to spot these issues when you go and do your viewing.
I never want to spend money on a leaking roof, but you do have to find your sensible head and ensure you get this one sorted, or the costs can be astronomical. And so can the damage. Always poke your head inside the loft and make sure there are no signs of leaking or damp up there. Stand back from the property too and have a good look at how the roof looks compared to its neighbours.
If you’re looking at an older home, well anything built before 2000 there’s always a risk of the property containing asbestos. Now this is something that we don’t always know how to look out for. TV programs like Location Location Location don’t tell us what we need to know. And it’s the health risks associated with asbestos that we need to watch out for. It’s a carcinogenic substance that can lead to serious health issues years after exposure.
Now, it was used in all kinds of ways all over the house, and some uses of it can be easier to spot than others. Here are some of the places you might find it, and what to look out for.
Garage/Shed – the most common place it’s found these days so look out for the corrugated roof and walls; a sure giveaway.
Ceilings – Textured of patterned ceilings could well contain asbestos, so if you see this, and in particular if its damaged, get it checked out.
Attics/Airing Cupboards – always check them out and look out for pipe or boiler lagging that might well be asbestos. If you’re not sure get an expert opinion.
Gutterings/Fascias – not so much of a hazard as it’s outdoors but possibly a sign it’s been used elsewhere in the building. Old gutterings were often made of asbestos concrete so watch out for them.
If you or a loved one have been exposed asbestos and are now suffering ill-health as a result, you might be able to make asbestos claims to be compensated so do look into that.
I’m actually quite shocked at the amount of places you may find asbestos in a potential new home, so do go in armed with knowledge and don’t be afraid to ask to check all the hidden spaces you may find it.
But do enjoy your house hunting and here’s hoping you find the new home of your dreams!
Have you ever found any of these problems in a potential new home? Did you go on to buy it? I’d love to know.