Property issues house hunters should spot that could cost new homeowners up to £40,000 to fix

Couple with bills
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

While house hunters keep their personal preferences at the forefront of their minds, there’s a few critical things that could be overlooked while they’re browsing their dream homes. Simple oversights could cost tens of thousands in the long run often for problems that many don’t even know how to spot in the first place.

While the more obvious issues like mould are known for their potentially extreme repair costs but some problems could incite even more expenses like affecting potential buyers’ ability to secure a mortgage or even affect their insurance premium.

To help house hunters avoid costly dilemmas due to no fault of their own, Saga property expert Anna Thunstrom highlighted seven major problems that could cost aspiring homeowners up to £40,000.


A more technical issue not many first time buyers will know about is subsidence, when the ground beneath a building begins to sink and pulls the home’s foundations down too. The warning signs of subsidence are cracks, particularly around doors, windows or other weak points in a building’s structure.

Anna highlighted that minor cracks under 0.5 millimetres are normal, but house hunters can test for subsidence by “opening and closing internal doors to check for sticking or any gaps in the frames” or placing round objects on the floor to see if they roll in a particular direction.

Additionally, a surveyor can pinpoint whether subsidence on a property is a concern and advise how much it would be to fix, which usually ranges from £6,000 to £14,000.

Invasive plants

While lavish, exotic gardens could be a draw for some, it is worth checking around a property’s garden for any invasive species like Japenese knotweed, bamboo or ivy which can damage property, impact its value and influence lenders.

Anna advised that sellers are “obliged to disclose” the presence of Japanese knotweed due to its reputation for property damage and rapid growth during the summer. It also costs a staggering £1,000 to £12,000 to have it removed.

Roof tiles

A more difficult thing to spot while viewing a property is missing roof tiles but this is one vital check house hunters should not miss. Not only does it cost around £5,000 to £8,000 to repair and replace a roof, it’s also a good indicator of the physical condition of the property underneath any glitzy interiors.


Checking temperature changes in each room can be a good indicator of a property’s overall insulation level, with Anna noting that “poorly fitted windows” are becoming a more common issue in newly built homes. She also advised house hunters to ask about the type of glazing on windows and the insulation used in the walls and roof.

Poor insulation can cause a spike in energy bills to keep the property heated, as much as £340 annually, while fixing the insulation can cost around £1,275 for a typical room, double-glazing windows can go for up to £1,200.

Mould and water damage

Arguably one of the biggest concerns for house hunters is mould or damp problems which can not only be costly to repair but also detrimental to the health of those in the home. Mould removal itself can cost up to £1,200 for the whole house.

The expert urged house hunters to take the time to properly inspect walls and ceilings, using touch checks for damp patches and keeping their nose keen for any musty odours. Sellers are also legally obliged to disclose damp or mould problems and Anna encouraged checking with the owner or agent if there is a fresh coat of paint over the property as this can sometimes cover signs.

Blocked gutters

Blocked gutters can lead to indoor leaks, weakened or cracked walls and foundation erosion which can cause a myriad of other issues. Anna also highlighted that not all home insurance policies cover damage due to poor maintenance such as blocked gutters and can cost around £45 per metre to replace.

She advised: “Look out for sagging gutters that are caused by debris and water weighing them down. If it's raining, observe if water runs down the side of the house, indicating potential blockages."

Leaky taps

Anna urged house hunters to check each tap in the bathroom and kitchen as faulty taps and leaky pipes can cost up to £400 for a plumber to fix. She advised readers that a trickling flow can indicate hard water or limescale buildup, which could eventually block water flow, while inconsistent water pressure can be due to or even cause a leak itself which would prompt more plumbing work.