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According to results from a study carried out by mortgage provider Ocean Finance, it takes around half an hour for one in three would-be buyers to pick their new home – that’s around the same time they spend watching their favourite soap opera.

Nearly 50% of the 2,061 survey participants admit they visited the property they wanted to buy twice, while over 25% made only one visit. But buying a house is usually one of the most expensive purchases in one’s life – so it makes sense to take your time and ask about issues such as damp, lack of parking space or noisy neighbours.

People who soon plan to hop onto the property ladder are advised to conduct careful research before making a decision. With the advent of Internet, this has never been easier, since it gives would-be buyers the chance to check some basics prior to visiting the property. With tools such as Google Street View, people can even sneak around the neighbourhood before viewing the house and also check for local transport, restaurants, shops and other amenities.

Property experts also advise house hunters to take a look at the surroundings when visiting a property of interest, such as its overall kerb appeal, the condition of the roof and neighbours’ success in taking care of their own homes.

When inside the house, buyers are advised to look out for potentially serious problems such as damp. A sign for excessive moisture could be an air freshener, which the homeowner could be using to remove the unpleasant odour. It’s also a good idea to look around for cracks or other evidence of subsidence and also inspect the ceiling for water stains.

Do you have any tips to add to the list?