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Architectural Red Flags in Conveyancing: What to Look for When Buying a Home

In this article, we’re sharing some of the architectural red flags in conveyancing to look for when buying a home in the UK.

Photo ©Mariell Lind Hansen courtesy of Studio Hagen Hall

Conveyancing solicitors in Andover are responsible for ensuring that the properties bought by Hampshire residents are fit for purpose. In the UK, 1.1 million properties are sold every year – some of which are hiding major issues which may prove costly in the long run.

In this article, we’re sharing some architectural red flags in conveyancing when buying a home.

What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the term used for the legal process of buying or selling a property in the United Kingdom. A conveyancing solicitor is responsible for all the legal aspects of your transaction when buying or selling a home, including the drawing up of contracts.

Your conveyancing solicitor will also conduct searches with public authorities to check for potential issues such as risk of flood or future developments which may affect your decision to buy. In most instances, you will need to hire the services of a conveyancing solicitor when buying or selling a residential property in Great Britain.

Photo ©Mariell Lind Hansen courtesy of Studio Hagen Hall

Master of all You Survey and Conveyancing

Before retaining your conveyancing solicitor and going ahead with the purchase of your new home, you should always hire the services of a surveyor. Your surveyor will gain access to the property that you are considering buying and examine it in order to produce a report detailing factors relating to its structural integrity – including any potential issues concerning that property.

Architectural Red Flags to Look for When Buying a Home

Your surveyor’s report will often be lengthy and will contain some mysterious and confusing words and phrases. However, there are some obvious red flags to be aware of, including:

Foundation problems

In most cases, buying a property which has foundation issues will prove to be a costly mistake and so you should always look out for the following:

  • Sloping or uneven floors
  • Significant cracks in walls and ceilings
  • Sticking or jammed doors
  • Uneven walls

While one or more of the issues above may not necessarily indicate foundation problems with the property, they are enough of a red flag for you to request further investigation before going ahead with your purchase.

Photo ©Mariell Lind Hansen courtesy of Studio Hagen Hall

Roofing Problems

It goes without saying that the roof of your home is pretty important and problems in this area can prove to be massively expensive. When viewing a property and reading your surveyor’s report, pay close attention to:

  • Missing or badly damaged tiles and shingles
  • Dips or uneven areas of the roof
  • Signs of ceiling leakage
  • Bowed or dipped ceilings on upper floors

Any of the above might indicate a serious problem and will need to be checked out before you proceed to the next stage of buying the property.

Photo ©Mariell Lind Hansen courtesy of Studio Hagen Hall


Signs of damp and / or mould will generally be evident through discoloured or black patchy areas on walls and will be included in your surveyor’s report. Damp and mould in a property can range from very mild to very severe and your surveyor’s report will indicate how significant the problem is in your potential new home.

Plumbing and Electricals

Keeping the water running and the lights on in your new home (even in the face of another UK energy crisis in front of us this winter) is essential. When viewing a property, don’t be shy about turning on taps and lights and checking sockets to ensure that everything is working as it should.

Your surveyor will only be able to perform basic, superficial checks on these things so it’s up to you to give them a test run during the viewing stage or to hire a professional to check them out for you.

Photo ©Mariell Lind Hansen courtesy of Studio Hagen Hall

Japanese Knotweed

This one will almost certainly feature on your surveyor’s report as, while it may sound fairly innocuous, this type of weed can wreak havoc on a property. Japanese Knotweed can grow quickly and spread widely and can cause significant structural and sub-structural damage to a property and can take up to three years of specialist treatment to eradicate completely.

You should, therefore, think very carefully about your purchase if this plant turns up on your surveyor’s report.

Pest Infestation

Again, this is an issue that can vary widely in severity. In many cases, an infestation of termites and insects can be dealt with relatively easily and inexpensively. However, an infestation of rats or even squirrels (particularly within the attic of the property) can potentially cause a lot of damage and will require intensive specialist treatment to resolve the problem.

Architectural red flags in conveyancing …

In this article, we’ve highlighted some things to look out for when buying your new home, including some which will definitely warrant another look.

While you don’t legally have to hire a surveyor when buying a property in the UK, this is highly recommended if you want to avoid some super-expensive mistakes which may take the shine off your new home – and potentially make it difficult to re-sell.

Before hiring a surveyor, it’s a good idea to speak with your real estate agent as, in some cases, they will offer basic surveying as part of their service.

All images come from a project featuring a beautifully renovaed home in the UK – discover the complete project by Studio Hagen Hall on ARCHISCENE.

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