5 common problems a home survey can reveal

Nathan Walker, Sales Director at CPS Homes in CardiffNathan Walker, Sales Director, takes us through some of the more common problems that are home survey report can reveal..

If you’re currently in the process of buying a property you should also be looking into the different home survey options that are available. Too many homeowners overlook a home survey and believe it’s just an added expense without fully appreciating just how important they are. 

The level of home survey you should consider carrying out will depend on the property itself and could potentially save you a fortune if it reveals costly issues that you’d have otherwise only discovered further down the line. Lenders typically insist that a home survey is carried out by a chartered surveyor as part of their lending criteria, but for extra reassurance you may want to consider upgrading it to a more in-depth survey or perhaps even carry out a second independent home survey with a company of your choosing if you feel it’ll put your mind at ease.

We’d urge all homebuyers to do themselves a favour by fully assessing the risk of their investment by carrying out an adequate home survey before proceeding with the purchase.

What is a chartered surveyor?

A chartered surveyor is an independent expert who are qualified to provide an objective appraisal on the overall condition of the property you’re looking to purchase. They typically offer different levels of appraisal, such as a Condition Report, Home Buyer’s Survey or a full Building Survey. Regardless of which survey you choose, their role is to highlight any defects, issues and associated repairs that will be needed to put things right. As you can imagine, some of their findings can potentially prove extremely costly to put right, so this is what makes a home survey so important. 

If you choose to appoint a chartered surveyor independently use the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) website to ensure they are fully accredited surveyors.

Five common problems that a home survey can reveal:

1. Damp and condensation problems

Damp can be an annoying problem in many properties, older ones in particular, and can be caused by a range of different factors. Penetrating damp rears its head when water finds its way into the property from the outside - typically from a leaky roof, small cracks in the render, or damaged guttering. It can also be caused by condensation and poor ventilation inside the property, so it’s important to find the root cause of the damp issues. A property can also suffer from wet rot and dry rot to timbers due to dampness, both inside and outside.

Most damp issues are relatively straight forward to rectify once the source of the problem is identified, but you may need to carry out a specialist damp survey to fully investigate the issue.

2. Roofing problems

Some roof issues are simple fixes, such as a few cracked tiles or overflowing gutters, whereas others can be more severe, such as an unstable roof structure that needs to be entirely replaced. The internal roof insulation and ventilation setup within the property should also be taking into consideration during the survey. If major roof problems are exposed during the home survey you may need to seek the opinion of an expert roofing contractor to gain a better understanding of the estimated costs to rectify the problems, whereas you may be able to sort out very simple fixes either yourself or by hiring the services of a local handyman.

3. Gas and electric problems

Although a chartered surveyor isn’t legally qualified nor experienced in the testing of utilities, the report does typically have a section that outlines findings based on a visual assessment only. A general home survey will generally recommend that further investigations should be undertaken to fully understand the condition of gas appliances and electrical installation within the property, including the central heating boiler.

As with most of the other common issues, gas and electrical problems that arise can range quite wildly from simple repair jobs to properties that require an entire re-wiring to ensure the property is 100% safe. This means repair costs can also vary significantly, but due to the dangerous nature of unsafe gas or electrics within a property it’s vital the relevant checks are carried out during the buying process.

4. Japanese knotweed problems

Japanese knotweed isn’t something that all homebuyers are clued up on, but for that that are familiar with it, they are dreaded words that you don’t want to hear when checking out a home. Japanese knotweed is a fast-growing plant that is extremely resilient and difficult to control and eradicate if it happens to blight your property. If that wasn’t bad enough, the problems that can arise from Japanese knotweed can prove extremely costly to put right as it has a habit of invading buildings and structures with its sheer strength and resilience. It’s strong enough to push through concrete and interfere with drainage systems by lifting pipework and clogging sumps.

5. Structural problems

Just like Japanese knotweed, subsidence is another word that can make a homebuyer shake with fear and run for the hills. Subsidence is a form of structural movement that occurs when the ground below a property quite literally sinks. If a home survey highlights structural movement issues then an investigation should be carried out immediately by building experts to find out just how badly the building is affected, what’s causing the structural movement, and what sort of costs are likely to be involved to rectify the problems.

Are you on the lookout for the perfect home in Cardiff? If so, contact our team of property experts here at CPS Homes so that we can discuss your situation and help you move forward with your search. Contact us by calling 02920 668585, e-mail enquiries@cpshomes.co.uk or simply pop into one of our three Cardiff branches.

24 March 2021

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