Six red flags on a surveyor’s report

Buying a property is a huge investment and so before parting with any money, you need to check its structural condition to preempt costly repair work further down the line. A home buyers report or survey is recommended before you buy a property.

What is a home buyers survey?

You can choose to have a home buyers survey carried out on a property you plan to buy. This is appropriate if it is in reasonable condition and less than 100 years old. A home buyers report gives you a surface level overview of the property and its condition. It is carried out by an RICS registered surveyor, and can be arranged by a firm such as Sam Conveyancing. Costs can vary from around £400 up to £1,500, according to the HomeOwners Alliance. The surveyor may identify red flags within the property. These will influence whether you continue with the proposed purchase or, at the very least, get a better idea of repair costs you will face in the future.

Six red flags to look out for on a surveyor’s report

Damp in a property can lead to mould and health problems for those living there, as well as structural damage to the building. Damp should be looked at as quickly as possible to identify the cause and a cost for resolution. Causes of damp can include leaks, rising water or poor ventilation.

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Subsidence is another worrying red flag that could be very costly to address. Subsidence is the gradual sinking of the land, which can lead to structural damage to the property standing on it. If the property you are planning to buy is suffering from subsidence, you will need to think seriously about whether to continue with the purchase.

Leaking roof
A leaking roof can be a very expensive problem to rectify. If a roof has been leaking for a long time, there are likely to be visible signs of damage to the house, including mould and water damage marks.

Poor wiring
Old, unsafe and poorly installed electrical wiring can be a fire risk. Old and unsafe wiring needs to be fixed properly by an electrician and, depending on how much of the home’s electrics are affected, can be an expensive job.

Japanese Knotweed
This resilient, tough and highly invasive weed can cause serious structural damage to a property. The roots of Japanese Knotweed can grow up to two metres deep and seven metres wide. Japanese Knotweed is notoriously difficult to deal with and needs to be handled professionally.

The use of asbestos was banned in the building industry in 1999 due to the highly toxic nature of the material and the health issues it can cause. Asbestos needs to be removed professionally by specialist teams. Asbestos may still be present in older homes built before 1999.

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If any of these common red flags show up on your home buyers report, you may want to pull out of the purchase or carry out further surveys to ascertain the scale of the problem and how much repairs are likely to cost. Further surveys will be funded by the buyer, but who pays for the repairs is a matter of debate. The problems may be reflected in the final purchase price of the property.

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