Buying your dream home can take a lot of time, effort, money, sweat and tears. It may take years and years or it may take just a select few years of scrimping, saving and planning. Whatever means you used to buy your dream home, you’ve made all the necessary steps and are looking at making an offer on a home you’ve set your sights on. However, have you done all your research? Are you absolutely certain of the condition of that property? While everything may look fine from a cursory glance and property viewing of the exterior and interior, there are a whole list of potential hidden defects that can lead to some catastrophic repair and refurbishment bills rolling in, so it is important that you know what you are getting yourself into.
With the help of an experienced friend or relative and an in-depth survey conducted by a chartered surveyor, you can take a better look at the condition of the property in question, to make sure there are no hidden defects lurking beneath the floorboards just waiting to surface. While some defects can be minor, with reparation costs not taking too much out of your budget, a professional surveyor can, on occasion, come across shocking defects that have been steadily increasing over the years, which will be costly and time-consuming to fix.
Take a look at four examples of hidden defects which could seriously affect your progress in procuring a dream home that you can easily move into.
- Presence of Asbestos
Asbestos was a material that came in several forms and was used in construction for many older properties and if left undisturbed, it is completely harmless. However if disturbed, it could be incredibly harmful and even fatal if ingested or inhaled accidentally. If and asbestos surveyors discovers asbestos in your home and you have plans of refurbishments, it can be costly to remove and repair the damage.
You will need to have the property properly assessed and worked upon by experts to ensure that no traces of asbestos remain. Reconstruction work will then need to be completed on the property before you can safely move in. In some cases it is a lengthy process and can be extremely costly.
- Rising Damp and Penetrating Damp
If left untreated for some time, damp can cause no end of problems to your property. With two different types of damp to watch out for – rising damp and penetrating damp – it I important that you are notified of any signs of damp so that you can repair the property accordingly. Depending on the severity of the damp, you may need to replace the insulation of the wall interior, as well as repairing or replacing affected floorboards and ceilings and even furniture if the damp has spread.
It is also important that you check to see whether or not the damp has affected or come into contact with any electrical wiring in the property as this can cause some problems if it has gotten that bad. Which leads onto our next point.
- Faulty or Shoddy Wiring
While not necessarily an obvious defect in many properties, it is far safer to have properly and safely installed wiring that is properly supported and easily organised in case you need an electrician to look at any issues. Buy a house with faulty wiring, and you’re essentially buying a ticking time bomb, particularly if you have young children. Proper wiring is essential for any property, as electricity can be extremely dangerous if tampered with or left exposed.
A professional electrician or engineer may be able to provide advice and assistance on shoddy wiring, but some others may not even want to touch the wiring for fear of making matters worse. Check electrical sockets where possible and make a note of which wires lead to where, and this will give you a basic idea of the quality of the wiring done on the property.
- Historical Properties – Timber Decay
Dry rot, wet rot and insect damages are all very real problems suffered by timber framed properties and they can happen if the property has been neglected over the years. In many instances, poor ventilation can be the cause of these issues, so if you are considering taking on the project, increasing ventilation in the affected area is essential, as without damp, spores cannot germinate and cause dry rot, and wet rot is also less likely to occur.
It can be devastating to have your heart set on a certain property, only to discover that the archaic timber ceilings you loved so much suffer from rot and infestations, but it is better to find this out in the initial stages than if you had been living in the property for a few months beforehand. Mould and damp can also be extremely dangerous to certain vulnerable family members, so being made aware of areas in which damp and mould are common will help you to prevent any lasting health conditions. While you may have enough money to shell out on reparations, knowing all this in advance makes it easier to organise a plan of action.
This is why more and more people are using the assistance of a chartered surveyor. As they have the experience needed to be able to quickly and efficiently identify any potential or serious defects, and they will also have local knowledge that they can use to determine other risks, it is far easier for new home owners to do something about the defects before they become a major problem. Knowledge is power, and with a concise and constructive survey such as a Major Defects Survey or a Building Condition Report, you will be able to make executive decisions on repairs that need doing, or whether or not it is worth considering another property for purchase.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the property industry – working together with a small selection of companies in the sector, including Sussex-based Chartered Surveyors firm Southdown Surveyors, who were consulted regarding the information in this piece.