77% of Brits have discovered a fault with their home after moving in, and spend an average of £5k rectifying them

  • A new study by comparethemarket.com reveals how many Brits miss important things on a house viewing, with damp the most common issue people fail to spot
  • 13% wouldn’t feel comfortable carrying out thorough checks during a house viewing
  • Experienced buyers spend less money fixing issues than first-time buyers do

New research by comparethemarket.com reveals the important things that buyers are most likely to miss during a house viewing, and the average cost of putting them right.

Having analysed the results, comparethemarket.com can reveal that 77% of Brits have spotted a fault with their home after moving in. The most common things homeowners miss and only notice after their purchase are:

  1. Damp or mould (24%)
  2. Poor electrics (22%)
  3. Poor plumbing (20%)
  4. Cosmetic issues with walls/ceilings/internal fixings (19%)
  5. Poor or no central heating (18%)

Other issues include not enough or inconvenient plug sockets (17%), poor water pressure (17%), and lack of sunlight in the garden (15%).

And these issues aren’t cheap to fix. In fact, the average cost of putting them right is £4,936.37. However, 4% of respondents spent between £15,000 and £20,000, and a further 4% spent over £20,000 rectifying these issues.

These stats show how important it is to thoroughly check a property before buying it. But our research reveals that 13% of Brits don’t feel comfortable doing any thorough checks during a house viewing.

For those who are comfortable about checking, the most common inspections to undertake during a house viewing are:

  1. Inspecting windows and window frames (31%)
  2. Asking how much utility/council tax bills are (31%)
  3. Opening and checking cupboards (31%)
  4. Checking walls for damp (30%)
  5. Asking about the neighbours (29%)

In comparison, the things people are least likely to do include lifting rugs (22%), moving furniture to check underneath it (19%) and videoing the viewing (9%).

The research surveyed both first-time buyers and experienced buyers, discovering notable differences between the two. 84% of first-time buyers claimed they spotted faults during their house viewing, but just 67% of experienced buyers said the same.

And experienced buyers are more likely to say they don’t feel comfortable doing thorough checks during a house viewing (19%) compared with first-time buyers (9%).

The checks that first-time buyers are most likely compared to do, compared to established buyers include:

  • moving furniture to check underneath it (23%, established buyers 12%)
  • lifting rugs (28%, established buyers 13%)
  • flushing toilets (29%, established buyers 19%).

In comparison, established buyers are more likely to:

  • ask how much utility and council tax bills are (36%, first-time buyers 27%)
  • check walls for damp (34%, first-time buyers 27%)
  • check walls for cracks or cosmetic defects (37%, first-time buyers 23%)
  • inspect windows and window frames (30%, first-time buyers 21%).

Taking this into consideration, it seems first-time buyers are more likely to move things around and look for things on the surface, but established buyers are more likely to go deeper, asking about important things such as bills, and checking for things that may cause issues later on.

It therefore comes as no surprise that more than a third (37%) of established buyers spend less than £1,000 rectifying issues when they move in, but just 22% of first-time buyers spend this amount. 

Commenting on the findings, Mark Gordon, head of mortgages at comparethemarket.com, said: “UK house prices are increasing substantially, and it’s a very competitive time for homeowners looking to sell their home, and for anyone looking to buy.

“We conducted this study to stress how important it is to undertake thorough checks on a house prior to purchase. It reveals the most common issues people miss when viewing a property, and how much Brits are spending rectifying these issues when they shouldn’t have to. We have also created a house viewing checklist that potential buyers can take to viewings to ensure they don’t miss anything important that will cost them later on.”

To see the checklist on what to look out for during a house viewing, please visit: https://www.comparethemarket.com/mortgages/content/house-viewing-misses/

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