Home buyer’s checklist

One property can look very much like another after a while, but with the help of our checklist you can make sure you remember which was which.

Is the property a flat


Is it leasehold? Or freehold? Leasehold properties are often cheaper than their freehold counterparts.


How long is left on the lease? Lenders will want to see a significant period – normally over 50 years – before they will lend.


How much is the service charge? Make sure you get a full breakdown of what is included in this, and how the charges are decided.


How often is this paid? If you have to cough up a large sum once a year, it could be a bit of a shock.


How much is the ground rent? This should be in the leasehold agreement for the entire duration of the lease.


How often is this paid? In many cases, it’s paid alongside the service charge, but leases do vary.


Are the communal areas clean and well kept? Aside from the quality of life in the property, it will also affect the resale value.


Do you have access to a garden? And what are your responsibilities relating to it?


Is it shared or private? Make sure if it’s shared that you will get fair use.


Who is responsible? Managing agents have varied reputations and it’s worth checking them out first.

Outside the property

  • Are there good transport links nearby?
  • Are there shops within walking distance?
  • Are the neighbouring houses in a good state of repair? If not, they could hold down the value of your property.
  • Is it on a busy road?
  • It may be worth visiting the property at least twice, at different times of day, to check if the levels of noise and through traffic vary.
  • Does it appear to be on a flight path?
  • Are there any roof tiles missing? If so, watch out for signs of damp inside the property.
  • Are there signs of subsidence?
  • A bent chimney stack, an uneven roof-line or cracking on the walls are all signs a property has suffered from subsidence.
  • Are there any nearby trees?
  • If there are any large trees nearby the roots could undermine the property’s foundations.
  • Is there any parking in the area?
  • If you have to buy a parking permit ask  the seller how much this will cost.
  • Is it double-glazed?


Inside the property

  • Is there any storage space?
  • Can you hear the neighbours?
  • Are there signs of subsidence?
  • Including cracks on the walls wider than the thickness of a 10p piece, and doors that are sticking or not hanging correctly
  • Are there signs of damp?
  • Feel plastered walls for moisture, and look out for dark patches on the walls.
  • Have the current owners very recently redecorated? Be wary of new paint or wallpaper. It could conceal damp patches or cracks.
  • Are the window frames in good condition?
  • Window frames with cracking paint can indicate damp. If you can press your finger easily into the wood, it’s rotten.
  • Are the rooms a practical shape? Consider how you will fit your furniture into the property.
  • Are carpets included in the price?
  • Are any appliances included?
  • Is there central heating?
  • If it is a gas central heating system ask when the boiler was last checked and how old it is.