2021 Update

5 common property problems surveyors find

Joe Bailey

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.

House Survey ProblemsHouse Survey Problems

Property Faults

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.

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.

Fault #3: The insects are coming!

Insects are an integral part of our ecosystem.

However, insect infestation in the home can be a huge problem.

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. We recommend not risking it though - just go ahead and contact 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.

What happens if your surveyor finds one of these problems?

Well, chances are your home will be down-valued.

This usually means one of two things:

  • Either your purchaser won't be able to borrow as much as they need (so might not be able to pay what they offered)
  • Or they won't want to carry on with the purchase, after learning about the issues.

This means the sale could ultimately fall through, putting you back at the starting blocks, with even more home-sale hurdles to overcome than you had originally.

Of course, you can work through them, make the repairs, and then try to resell. And you'll likely get the best price this way.

But if you don't want to do the work, or you can wait the time to get another sale, we may be a good option. We're familiar with all types of property issues, meaning we're happy to buy any house - even those with problems. Click that link to read more about our service, of hit one of those big blue "Get An Offer" buttons, enter your details, and speak with our team. It's free and there's no obligation - so it may be worth a chat if your home has issues but you're still hoping for a quicker than normal house sale.

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