Use this checklist to ensure a secure roof over your head - and a good investment for your money.
Check for cracks in the walls, both inside and outside. Smell for damp and feel plastered walls for moisture.
Be wary of new paint or wallpaper - this could be hiding cracks or damp. Check for woodworm and rot if the property has wooden window frames, doors and floors.
Outside the property
Make sure there are no roof tiles missing – missing tiles could lead to leaking and other water damage. Check for large trees near the building as their roots could damage the foundations.
Inspect bathrooms to see if they are well ventilated, and check if the taps work and the toilets flush properly. Make a note of odd-shaped rooms to assess what furniture to put into them. Look at the colours of the walls and carpets, to see if they match your colour schemes.
State of repair
Look at the plug points. If they are old designs you might have to rewire. Is the roof insulated? Timber needs to be checked for damp, woodworm and rats. Find out when the geyser was last serviced.
Check the garden to see if you will need to fell any trees. Are there boundary walls? If not, and you have pets, it might be advisable to erect them. If there are electric fences, gates and garage doors, check if they are in working order and whether they need a service. Check the last time the borehole and sprinkler system were serviced.
Buying the property
Ask the seller as many questions as you possibly can. Find out why he is moving. Ask about crime in the area – or phone the local police station for crime statistics.