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Buyers warned over property risks

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First-time buyers often spend less than an hour in a property before committing to buy, new research has found.

Research by Which? Mortgage Advisers found that a tenth of buyers do not carry out any checks before buying a property.

Of those who did investigate, 70% looked for obvious damp or mould within the property. A similar amount examined the general condition of the windows while 68% looked out for cracks in the walls.

However, many failed to look out for other potential issues. Just 36% checked the state of the chimney, 35% looked out for dodgy light switched and only 28% checked the taps and water pressure.

Which? found that people were spending less time viewing properties than before, with younger people not properly examining the home.

The average 18-34 year old viewed their property for 49 minutes, with first-time buyers spending just 53 minutes in their would-be home. This compares with an average viewing time of 74 minutes for over 65s.

David Blake from Which? Mortgage Advisers said buyers must always take time to check out the property correctly.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

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