So, you’ve found your dream home. You’ve made the decision to have a survey done and now you want to know if the property you’ve fallen in love with is a good investment. Below we highlight some of the common issues your house survey could find, ways to deal with these issues and what they mean to you, the potential buyer.
Damp is one of the most commons issues found during a survey, especially in older properties. If untreated it can cause structural damage by deteriorating brick and plaster, rotting wood or rusting steel and iron structural components. There are 3 main types of damp; rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation. Any of these can create unhealthy living conditions because they intensify respiratory problems and provide an environment where bacteria thrives. If damp is detected, your survey should reveal the cause of the damp. This will help you understand how and what needs to be repaired.
This happens when the ground underneath your property moves, affecting its stability. Common causes are through vegetation removing water from the soil which can cause cracking to the structure of the property. It can be fixed through a process known as underpinning, however this can be expensive and finding an insurer willing to cover a house that has suffered subsidence can prove to be difficult.
Japanese knotweed is an invasive species that can cause significant damage to houses. The plant can grow up to 3m in height and can push through concrete, cavity walls and drains. Discovering the plant can mean a property becomes essentially ‘un-mortgageable.’ However, if you have your heart set on a property with knotweed, see if the homeowners have a treatment plan in place.
Woodworm is caused by beetle larvae burrowing into timber, causing structural damage. The tell-tale sign is small, rounded holes on the surface of the wood. Whilst this can cause a nuisance, requiring structural repair work is quite rare; unless the infestation has been undetected and left to grow.
Dry rot is type of fungus that can weaken the timber within a property and can spread rapidly. Its ability to spread onto a range of materials from carpets to furniture makes it very distructive. One of the root causes of dry rot is dampness with one of the main causes is penetrating damp. If the property you are looking at has dry rot this needs to be treated as soon as possible to minimalise structural damage to the property.
All these issues may sound scary and some will cause more issues than others, but having a survey helps you find out in beginning what you’re working with. This also helps you to negotiate a cost with the seller, and factor in the cost of any repair work before you make your final purchase.
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