Country houses for sale

The six ‘beige flags’ of house-hunting that should make you think twice before putting in an offer

Looking for a new home? Here are the seemingly innocent things in a property that might come back to haunt you.

If you’re ploughing your hard-earned savings into buying a new property, you’ll want to make sure it’s watertight, both literally and metaphorically.

You’ve no doubt heard of red flags. But what about beige flags? (No, we’re not referring to the ‘beige flag’ dating trend that’s taken TikTok by storm.)

‘A beige flag is something that’s not necessarily bad, but something to watch out for’, explain We Buy Any Home, whose property expert Terry Fisher has been looking at this issue. ‘While red flags may be deal-breakers while house hunting, beige flags are smaller concerns that could easily go unnoticed.’

In other words, it could, just could, be a sign of trouble ahead.

We Buy Any Home’s name suggests that the firm is not fazed by beige or even red flags. Then again, knowing what you’re getting in to is always the key, and in that spirit Terry Fisher lists his six beige flags to keep an eye out for when house hunting.

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1. Fresh paint

A new lick of paint is probably one of, if not the most common way for sellers to spruce up their property. It can give a tired home a new lease of life. But it could also hide potential problems, such as stains, water damage and mould, warns We Buy Any Home.

2. New plaster

Fresh plaster, like paint, is another well-known way to give a home a bit of a facelift. But it too could be a telltale sign of something more serious.

‘Small cracks might just be from the house settling, but could be a sign of more significant structural issues. Cracks can also be caused by fluctuations in humidity and temperature, and even vibrations from nearby traffic,’ says We Buy Any Home.

‘Look out for plaster above door frames or diagonal plaster that looks like a staircase as these can be signs of structural damage.’

3. Heavy scent

Delicious bread hot out of the oven, newly-cut flowers, a tasteful Diptyque candle, or even a Glade plug-in air freshener… Fresh scent could disguise a fairly innocuous smell of, say, tobacco or the seller’s beloved dog, Molly. But it may also mask a significant issue, such as damp or plumbing issues.

‘Pay attention to strange smells, which could suggest mould, rotting wood, sewer problems, or other concerns,’ says We Buy Any Home.

It might be lovely that they’ve lit candles and baked fresh bread the day of your viewing… but equally, it might not be.

4. Odd room temperatures

Breaking out into a hot sweat one minute and shivering the next? It may not be a sign that you’re coming down with the dreaded lurgy — rather, it could indicate problems with the heating, ventilation or insulation systems, points out We Buy Any Home. And there’s a host of good reasons why having an energy efficient home is important.

5. Low water pressure

Switching on taps and showers to check the water pressure may not be top of your list to do when house hunting. But low pressure could point to plumbing issues.

We Buy Any Home explains: ‘Some issues, like blocked pipes or faulty taps, can be simple to fix. But some can be more expensive, like corroded water lines and leaky pipes that can even contaminate your drinking water!’ You have been warned.

6. Water stains

Yes, we do live in a country known for its damp climate. But watch out for peeling wallpaper or paint, water marks on walls and ceilings, and a musty smell. These may be signs of a previous leak or ongoing moisture issues, says We Buy Any Home.