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First-time buyers beware: red flags checklist

Aspiring homebuyers are being urged to look out for signs a property could be plagued with problems.

 Home insurance experts from Quotezone.co.uk have researched ten warning signs a property has been poorly constructed or has hidden threats which might end up costing new homeowners a fortune.

 Almost two-thirds of Brits have had a serious problem with the housing quality of new builds, and a quarter have reported over 16 issues.

The rush to build new developments, poor installation and a shortage of qualified tradespeople has led to a rising trend of badly built new homes. 

 Buying an older property also comes with its drawbacks as it is more likely to have problems with ageing such as damp, mould and even subsidence. 

 Key signs which indicate there could be serious issues with a house include strong odours, small holes and uneven floors.

 Greg Wilson, Founder and CEO at home insurance comparison site Quotezone.co.uk says: “Purchasing a house is a huge milestone and an exciting time, but first-time buyers must be careful their dream home doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

 “Although most new builds should come with a 10-year warranty, this will only cover issues caused by a developer – so it is still vital to get home insurance for extra protection from the date of exchanged contracts. 

 “Most home insurance policies will also cover subsidence, but there can be some exclusions. If the issue is a result of construction or flaws in the building process you may not be covered and could be left with a devalued or uninhabitable property. 

 “Your first home is a big commitment and viewings can be a daunting experience but if you’re aware of these potential issues beforehand, you’ll know what to be wary of and look out for warning signs before you get caught up in the bidding process.”

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 The team at Quotezone.co.uk has revealed 10 warning signs to look out for when viewing a property:


Signs of subsidence include cracks in walls which are diagonal or jagged, especially around doors and windows or cracking wallpaper and paint. This is because as a property sinks, it pulls the foundations down causing floors and walls to shift and could eventually destabilise the property.


Strong odours could signify sewage, dampness, mould, water damage, pest infestations and even chemical contamination. 

 3.Japanese knotweed 

 If left untreated, this invasive plant can invade properties with poor structures, interfere with water and piping and even break through floors. Because of this, it can lead to a severe devaluation of homes. 

4.Crime mapping

 Research local crime rates to get insights into the safety of the neighbourhood before deciding to purchase a property. Consider looking at street lighting, neighbourhood watch programmes, how well-maintained other properties are and overall crime statistics.  


 Look out for small, rounded holes in wood and dust-like substances as they could signal woodworms. An infestation of woodworms could cause serious structural problems and decay.


 A house containing asbestos can be sold despite the health risks, and owners should disclose it to potential buyers as it could negatively affect value. However, if you suspect there could be asbestos, call for a professional inspection.

7. Uneven floors

 If floors are uneven, it could signal a range of issues including subsidence, structural damage and poor construction. 


 Tree roots can cause subsistence and structural damage, as well as blocked drains and lifted paving. Always research the safe distance a tree species should be from a building. 

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9.Windows and doors

 Poorly fitted windows and doors are a common problem in new buildings and can impact energy efficiency and compromise security.


 Check an area’s flood risk by entering the postcode into the gov.uk flood website, living in a higher-risk area could mean the property is in danger and finding home insurance cover could be difficult. 

Quotezone.co.uk helps millions of users every year find savings on household bills and essentials and even covers niche products such as subsidenceflood risk and listed building insurance.

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