Buying a home can be one of the most stressful times, especially when houses are in such high demand. It can seem easy to just have a look around and decide there an then whether you want to buyt he property, but a building surveyor will tell you otherwise.
Surveyors will always recommend that you look past the decoration of a home, as you can change this – what you can’t change are irreversible problems with the interior or exterior of the property.
Take a building surveyor’s advice when you buy a house and remember to look for the warning signs.
Check the exterior of the property
Don’t walk straight through the front door when you go to view a house. If you can get there a bit early, take a little look aroudn the outside of the house to see if you can find any initial problems that you can look at in more detail during the viewing.
Look at the ground levels
Take a look at the junctions of external walls to see whether there could be any problems with the damp proof course. A damp proof course helps to stop rising damp from occuring, so there shouldn’t be anything that could prevent it from doing its job.
Check for raised flowerbeds leaning against external walls or driveways installed at a higher level than before. Render applied to walls can also bridge the damp proof course and will make it easy for moisture to find its way in.
Look for cracking
Take a look at the condition of the external walls. If you notice cracking or distortion, it is worth getting it looked at by a professional. It can happen for a number of reasons, and sometimes these reasons can be very serious. On the other hand, it could be old and look worse than it is.
It’s always best to have a building surveyor come to inspect the property to put your mind at rest.
Check for signs of new pointing
Pointing is horizontal and vertical mortar joints that bond masonry units together. If you see an area of pointing that is slightly lighter in colour, this could mean that there was recently cracking to the outside of the building.
The inside of the building
Remember avoid having your opinion swayed by the decoration of a property. You can change this easily whenever you fancy, but it will be much more expensive to sort out long-term issues with the interior of the house.
Watch out for damp
Although one of the most common problems with properties, some people still forget to check for it. Look for visible damp patches or peeling paint and wallpaper. There are lots of ways that damp can manifest itself – in the form of rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation.
Make sure you pay particular attention to lower ground floor external walls. If there is damp below a metre and a half above ground level, this could be a sign that the damp proof course has failed.
Damp or mould in bathrooms and kitchens is common due to the amount of water vapour present. It could be a sign of the previous owners not ventilating the rooms properly, or it could be a problem with the general ventilation of the building. It could also be a combination of poor thermal insulation or inadequate heating.
If you notice any of these problems, you might want to move on from the property and find something better. But you may want to seek advice from a building surveyor who can tell you whether the issues are significant or can be solved easily.
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