One in ten people don’t check the property they buy

Research commissioned by Which? Mortgage Advisers reveals that as many as one in ten home-buyers didn’t do any checks while viewing the property they later bought, and younger people and first-time buyers spent less than an hour viewing on average.

We asked people, who had either bought or sold a house in the past five years, about the checks they’d carried out before buying a property. We found one in ten (11%) didn’t conduct any during viewings, which could potentially lead to costly ​maintenance issues further down the line. Even more worryingly, 5% of those surveyed hadn’t viewed the property they purchased at all.

The types of checks undertaken varied greatly amongst those surveyed. Of those who did conduct viewings, most looked at whether there was any obvious damp or mould in the property (70%), the general condition of the windows (69%) and whether there were any large cracks in the walls (68%). However, fewer people checked the less obvious issues like the condition of the chimney (36%), whether light switches actually worked (35%), and if taps functioned or if there was adequate water pressure (28%).

Our research also revealed that the amount of time people spent viewing a property increased with age, with those aged 18-34 viewing for only 49 minutes on average, and over 65s viewing for an average of 74 minutes. First-time buyers spent on average 53 minutes viewing their property.

Viewing for longer appeared to have an impact on the amount paid for the property, the longer people spent viewing the more likely ​they were to pay less than the asking price. Of those who spent more than two hours viewing a property, 71% paid less than the asking price. In comparison, of those who spent less than 10 minutes viewing, only 48% paid below the asking price.

David Blake from Which? Mortgage Advisers said:

‘If you’re looking to buy a property in a highly competitive market, it’s easy to get carried away and not make all the essential checks. However, acting on impulse could mean that you don’t spot maintenance issues that could cost you dearly later on.

‘When looking for a new home, it’s important not to rush and to carefully consider whether the property is right for you. Having a checklist that prompts you to look at things like the condition of the boiler or whether there are enough power sockets can really help, and will also highlight the questions you should be asking yourself or the estate agent.’

For more free advice on buying a house, including a downloadable checklist of things to consider when viewing a property, visit:




Notes to Editors

  1. Which? Mortgage Advisers is one of Which?’s new services. When an important market fails to deliver value to customers, we develop products and services that put customers’ needs first. Which? Mortgage Advisers provides truly independent, whole-of-market mortgage advice. You can find out more by visiting:
  2. In June 2015, Which? Mortgage Advisers commissioned ‘Research Now’ to survey 1,990 members of the general public who had either bought or sold a house in the previous five years. Any questions relating to cost were limited to those who had bought or sold in the previous two years. Our findings are based on a nationally representative sample of the UK, and exclude any regional boosts in samples that were used for additional analysis.
  3. For a downloadable checklist of things to consider when viewing a property, visit:
  1. Table of age versus the average time spent viewing :
Age Range (including the number of those surveyed) Average time spent viewing (minutes)
18 – 34 (383) 49.2
35 – 44 (302) 50.7
45 – 54 (290) 63.4
55 – 64 (276) 68.4
65+ (297) 74.1
First-time buyers (499) 53.0

Note: This table excludes 442 of those surveyed who didn’t know or couldn’t remember.

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