Buying a New Property? Follow This Checklist Before You Make Your Purchase

6 Mar 2024

Whether you're a first-time buyer or seasoned investor, ensure due diligence before making a purchase; this will be crucial to avoid costly mistakes down the line.

Buying a new property is a significant investment and one of the most important decisions you'll make in your lifetime. In this checklist, we'll cover everything you need to consider before signing on the dotted line, from viewing a property to finalising the deal.

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1. Conduct Extensive Research Online

Before you schedule any viewings, start your property search with a browse of local, online listings. You can look for properties that meet your criteria in terms of location, size, amenities, and budget. Websites like Zoopla, Rightmove, and OnTheMarket tend to be the best platforms for property listings in the UK. These are great because you can take advantage of search filters and narrow down your options and save time. Some property websites allow you to view historic sales too, which can give you great insights into what has previously sold in a certain area and for how much.

2. Check Property Listings Carefully

When you review property listings online, make sure you pay close attention to details provided by the seller or agent. You’ll want to look for information about the property's size, layout, condition, and any notable features or amenities. But be wary of red flags, such as listings that come with limited photos or vague descriptions, as they may be hiding potential issues.

3. Attend Property Viewings With a Critical Eye

Of course you’ll want to schedule viewings for properties you like, and you’ll probably feel excited and enthusiastic if they pique your interest, but our advice is to always attend with a critical eye. Look beyond cosmetic features and pay attention to the property's structural integrity, layout, and condition. Remember to check for signs of damp, mould, cracks in walls or ceilings, and any evidence of poor maintenance.

It might help to take someone with you (perhaps a friend or family member, with a more neutral standpoint) as they may spot something you miss. Likewise go back for a second visit at a different time of day. It’s amazing what you might notice on a second viewing that you missed on the first.

4. Assess the Property's Structural Integrity

During the viewing, it’s important to assess the property's structural integrity carefully. You can do this by looking for signs of subsidence - like uneven floors or walls - cracks in brickwork or plaster, and doors or windows that stick or don't close properly. These could indicate underlying issues that may require costly repairs.

5. Inspect for Damp and Mould

Damp and mould can be serious issues in properties; in worst case scenarios, they may lead to health problems or costly remediation efforts. It’s vital you check for signs of dampness or mould growth, like water stains on walls or ceilings, musty odours, and peeling or discoloured paint. Pay particular attention to areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements.

6. Check the Property's Exterior

Don't forget to inspect the property's exterior, including the roof, gutters, and external walls. Red flags are missing or damaged roof tiles, clogged gutters, and cracks in brickwork or rendering. Issues like these can lead to water ingress and structural damage if not addressed promptly, costing you thousands in repairs later own the line

7. Consider the Property's Location and Surroundings

Location, location, location. We all know the importance of location in the search for a new property. “Buy the worst house on the best street” as they say.

During your property search, consider factors such as proximity to amenities, schools, public transport, and potential future development in the area - even if they do not matter to you right now, they could be a selling point later down the line. You’ll also want to be privy to local crime rates, noise levels, and pollution levels to ensure the area meets your lifestyle and safety preferences. It can also be worth driving around the street and the area at different times of day to see how busy or quiet it is and get a feel for the area.

8. Verify the Property's Legal Status

Before making an offer, verify the property's legal status and ownership details. This means you can ensure that all necessary planning permissions and building regulations have been obtained for any alterations or extensions to the property. You might want to hire a solicitor or conveyancer to conduct a thorough legal check and identify any potential issues.

9. Get a Comprehensive Home Survey

Once you've found a property you're interested in, commission a comprehensive home survey to assess its condition and identify any hidden defects. There are several types of surveys available, ranging from basic condition reports to full structural surveys, and you can simply choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

10. Check the Home Energy Rating

Every home listed for sale in the UK is legally required to get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The EPC gives an energy rating of A to G, A being very efficient and G being inefficient. It also suggests things that can be done to improve the home's energy rating, so as a buyer you can decide if this is something you want to do, or something to negotiate with the seller.

11. Review the Financial Aspects Carefully

Before you finalise the deal, review the financial aspects of the purchase carefully. Remember crucial factors like mortgage affordability, additional costs (e.g., stamp duty, legal fees, survey fees), and ongoing expenses (e.g., maintenance, insurance, council tax). The budget you have set for yourself should be realistic and include a buffer for potential future expenses. Likewise ensure you use a CPA accredited tradesperson for any work you decide to undertake.


Buying a new property is an exciting but complex process that requires careful consideration and due diligence. If you use this comprehensive checklist, you can ensure that you're making an informed decision and avoid potential pitfalls along the way. Remember to conduct thorough research, inspect properties with a critical eye, and seek professional advice when needed. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can find the perfect property that meets your needs and budget.

Your dream home is within reach, and we're here to help you every step of the way.