5 warning signs in new build homes you should never overlook, according to property experts

Being able to spot these red flags is crucial

Exposed brick wall, large round mirror and bench, open plan kitchen
(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

If there's one thing we've noticed, it's that right now appears to be the prime season for moving house, irrespective of whether you're looking to buy a house or simply rent a new place.

When you're browsing through endless listings online or booking a handful of viewings, it's oftentimes you may tend to get blind-sighted by the excitement of it all that you overlook some blatant issues in the new build homes piquing your interest. It's not enough for a place to look good, but it's got to stand the test of time too.

Narrow console table in a white decorated hallway, front door and wood flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC)

'An increasing number of new homes are being built every year to meet the demand for housing, however, new builds can have just as many problems as any other house,' warns Tabitha Cumming, property expert at The Lease Extension Company.

Red flags putting off buyers don't just encompass the way you've furnished and staged your interiors, but it also comes down to the quality of the home's foundational workmanship.

White painted hallway with panelled ceiling, console table, wall art

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

5 red flags to look out for in new build homes

To help you avoid the trials and tribulations of buying or renting a new build, we've asked experts to give their top tips on the red flags to look out for, to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

1. Decorating – look at plastering, doors, and cabinets

'One of the easiest giveaways that a home is not up to standard is poor decorating. It's easy to get caught up in the moment with visions of IKEA trips and interior Pinterest boards. But stay alert, as bumpy plastering, scratched doors, and uneven cabinets are often the first sign that the build was poorly made,' advises Bradley Mackenzie, RICS accredited valuer at Stokemont.

iew of grey painted alcove to the side of the chimney breast with inbuilt wooden cupboard and shelves

(Image credit: Future PLC/Anna Stathaki)

2. Poor brick work – cracks, gaps, and misaligned bricks

'One of the most critical aspects of a property's structural integrity is its brickwork, so make sure you inspect the external walls for cracks, gaps, and loose or misaligned bricks,' warns Terry Fisher, property expert at We Buy Any Home.

Tabitha adds, 'Check that the mortar between bricks does not have any gaps, as this can result in mould or damp, and could potentially cause structural damage in colder months.' 

Exposed brick wall, large round mirror and bench, open plan kitchen

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

3. Windows – poor sealing and cracks

'Another thing that you might not spot until the colder months is the window fittings. Poor sealant, gaps in the frames, or cracks often result in damp, but in more serious cases can also be a health and safety concern. Make sure to go round every window and check them over as it is super easy to miss,' says Bradley.

Small plant containers on windowsill and hanging

(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Lee)

4. Poor insulation

'The insulation of your home is responsible for keeping the house at a comfortable temperature, and it will also have a huge impact on your energy bills,' says Bradley.

'By making sure the home is properly insulated, you'll save more money in the long run. Correct roof insulation should be a minimum of 25cm and cover all of the roof. If there are gaps, or it seems too thin, get a professional to look at it.'

Blue sofa, big houseplant, patio doors

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

5. Poor vents

'Vents are a key part of health and safety that is often overlooked in homes. Check that any vent covers on the inside of the home are connected to vents outside, and ensure that the vents in extractor fans or hoods and bathrooms are also connected to the outside,' urges Tabitha.

Kitchen with grey tiled concrete floor, large marbled kitchen island, floor to ceiling glass doors to the patio and garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Davide Lovatti)

What should you do if you encounter a problem with your new build?

Of course, no matter how prepared you are on the day of viewing, there are inevitably going to be some issues you simply can't predict.

If you encounter any problems, Bradley assures, 'Most new builds come with a 'snagging' clause where you can report any issues you find to the builders and they will fix it.'

'Do be warned though, this often has a time limit so if you see a problem, write it down and call the property management or builder, it will save you a big headache later down the line.'

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is Ideal Home’s Junior Writer. She’s always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham in 2022. Previously, she was an Intern Editor for ArchDaily. Now focused on news stories, Jullia can be found down the TikTok and Pinterest rabbit hole scrolling through any new and upcoming trends, hacks, and home inspiration.