5 common property problems surveyors find

A surveyors job is to find any and all faults with a house. Find out the 5 most common house survey problems... And what you can do about them.

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Here's the deal:

You’re preparing to put your house on the market, but you're not completely sure if your property is 'fit for purpose'. We think you'll agree it can be a BIG worry making sure you've discovered all issues before listing your property.

But does it need to be?

Well, it turns out if you know what to look out for, the problem can be sorted.

In this guide, we'll reveal the most common property faults surveyors discover giving you a head start before you list your property for sale.

Fault #1: Structural movement

Unlike in modern dance or exercise, structural “movement” - when it comes to your home - is not good at all.

Structural movement is defined as any harmful changes or developments or the structure or the foundation of the homes; it’s a pretty wide definition. It can include the expansion of building components, cracks or defects in the wall or foundation, or subsidence (the gradual caving in or moving of land on the property).

Why does this happen?

This type of damage is often caused by nature - a rise in water levels, the construction of buildings nearby, or trees or plants growing and disrupting the ground nearby.

Have these issues investigated thoroughly and treated properly if any are identified.

Also read: Essential Home Surveys Guide for Buyers and Sellers

Fault #2: Damp problems

Wetness and moisture can plague a house, especially older ones.

As a house ages, and the materials that make it get older, the problems that come along with moisture and damp start to take their toll.

These can encompass structural plagues including:

  • Wet rot
  • - A less serious, but still very harmful, plague of rot in timber of the house, caused by a wood-destroying fungi. It is generally a limited form of rot.
  • Dry rot
  • - The more serious form of fungal rot throughout a household. Caused by an extremely harmful fungi that builds up when timber becomes wet above a sustainable limit, this type of rot can spread from timber to timber, drying out and decaying the wood and causing major structural damage to the property. There needs to be a moisture content above around 20% for this type of rot to occur. If in doubt, read our guide on selling a house with dry rot.
  • Condensation
  • - This is exactly what you think it is: the buildup of moisture and water throughout the household in places that may be vulnerable. If untreated, it may cause the rot problems detailed earlier.
  • Penetrating damp
  • - This type of problem is defined as water from the outside that sneaks its way into the inside of the house. This type of water will flow in from cracks and fissures in the house, sneaking into the interior or walls and potentially starting that same type of rot detailed above. This can be caused by overflowing gutters, missing tiles, or busted pipes, among other things.

If there’s any indication that any of these elements are happening to your home, it’s advisable to get them fixed before you continue on with the selling process.

Read: How to Prepare Your Home for Sale

Fault #3: The insects are coming!

Insects are an integral part of our ecosystem.

However, to a home insect infestation can be a huge problem, don't believe us?

This recent article from The Sun, shows a flat in London harbouring bugs in the mattresses, colonies around plug sockets and even bulges in the ceiling from where the bloodthirsty insects have harboured.

A surveyor can comb the house and search for all of those pesky critters that may harm the structure of the house. Several different species can work their way into the timbers of your home and cause the integrity of the structure to start to fail.

When that happens, the wood can buckle and collapse.

Luckily, this is one of the easiest problems in the home to fix!

As soon as the specific type of insect infestation is identified, go ahead and coordinate with a local exterminator to wipe out the bugs from your home. 

Fault #4: Look at the roof

A good roof is - obviously - an essential element to your home.

That said, it’s not always the easiest place to observe and monitor. It’s also one part of the house that’s extremely susceptible to damage, whether it be through the elements or the environment around you.

The weather may have harmed the structure of the roof, ventilation may be blocked, tiles may have been ripped off or may have cracked, and there’s always the chance that wayward gutters may have also harmed the structure. Depending on the extent of the damage from the surveyor reports - if there is any - you may be able to repair the roof yourself.

If not, it may take a professional.

Fault #5: The windows

Windows, like roofs, are often susceptible to problems that a surveyor may find. Most often, you’ll find the problems with newer windows that have replaced older ones; this type of installation may have replaced the stronger older windows with a material and construction that may be cheaper, but less sturdy.

This means the area around that window may crack and fall into disrepair, a common issues surveyors find with double glazed windows.

Additionally, your surveyor may recommend replacement of some windows that do not meet fire codes.

If your surveyor finds one of these problems?

Just as in the roof section, you may be able to make some of these fixes yourself; if you feel like one’s a little bit beyond your skill set, go ahead and engage a professional. 

The last thing you want is a reduced offer after a survey!

You may also like:

What Makes a Property Unmortgageable (And How To Fix It)

Selling a House with Japanese Knotweed

Identifying and Selling a House with Non Standard Construction

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