Bad Drainage

It can be difficult to know what to look for when buying a house, and bad drainage is one that is often overlooked.

It can be caused by a myriad of different problems, from the relatively harmless and easy-to-solve, like a small blockage that can be easily removed, to major damage to the pipework, which will require more attention.

Whatever the cause, it is important to address the issue before it is too late and the problem gets out of hand, for example the pipework becomes irreparable, or there is a sewage flood.

A simple CCTV drain survey could identify any potential risks in the pipework of a house before you buy it. Not only will this isolate any problems that need addressing before it is too late, but also could lead to cheaper house insurance.

Damp and Moisture

A strong sign of potentially serious issues is if there is any visible damp and moisture in the house.

Once again, this could be caused by any number of problems and it is very important that you get it looked at by professionals. It could be a sign of water getting in from outside the property, or condensation from within (which in turn could be caused by rain water penetration, leaking pipes or poor ventilation).

To prevent these issues causing more long-lasting damage, and to ascertain the severity of them, you should have a damp and moisture survey carried out. This will identify the root causes of the problem, which will make solving them much easier.

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Mould is probably a more obvious problem to notice when you are looking around a potential new house. Sometimes you can even smell it before you see it; a sort of musty, damp smell.

It can be dismissed as a nuisance, just something that you’ll need to clear up – but the reality is that the mould is probably another sign of more serious issues within the house that need to be identified and addressed.

Mould grows where there is too much moisture in the air, which could point to a leak (guttering or plumbing?) or condensation. While it is possible to clear the mould itself, it will just keep on coming back until the main cause is rectified.

It is another case for a damp and moisture survey, which will be able to pinpoint the issues that are causing the mould.

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Structural problems

Before you make an offer on a house it is absolutely crucial that you check for structural problems. The cost of repairing issues like this can amount to thousands of pounds, so it is imperative that you make sure the structural integrity of the property is intact before you even think about buying it.

So what should you be looking for? There are plenty of signs of structural problems, from the obvious, to the more concealed. They include:

  • Cracks in interior walls above doors
  • Doors not closing properly
  • Uneven flooring
  • Leaning chimney
  • Cracks in exterior walls

There are plenty of other signs too, so be aware of anything that looks a little off, and don’t be afraid to ask about it. If you have any concerns, it is best to investigate to find the cause of these issues.

Do I need a survey when buying a house?

A house survey is not a legal requirement when buying a house. However, it is strongly recommended that you get one for many reasons.

First of all, peace of mind. Buying a house is one of the most important decisions of your life, and one that, if it goes wrong, can haunt you for years and years. Having a survey done can reassure you that you are not wasting your money.

Secondly, they are excellent value. While they may seem expensive, if they identify a problem, you have much more knowledge to help you decide what to do. If the reported problems are more than you’d like to take on, you can pull out of the deal and not waste a considerable amount of money. If you still want to go ahead with the purchase, you can go back to the seller and negotiate a better price for the house in light of the new information.

What to ask when buying a house?

Top 10 questions to ask when buying a house

  1. Is there any evidence of damp?
  2. Are there any signs of cracks in the walls? Both inside and out
  3. How old is the boiler? When was it last serviced?
  4. Is the wiring up to date in the fuse board?
  5. Has the loft been insulated?
  6. What are the neighbours like? Is there any sound-proofing? Border disputes?
  7. When was the property built?
  8. Has there been any major work done on the property recently?
  9. What’s included in the sale? Shed? Light fittings?
  10. Which way does the garden face? Does it get sunlight all day?

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