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To consider buying a house with possible damp issues?

(22 Posts)
IWannaBeAPopstar Fri 22-Jan-16 18:06:02


Found a house that ticks all the boxes - viewed it the second time today and we noticed some bubbled/peeling wallpaper in the front room and dh saw discolouration in the corner of the wall. (Outside wall)

We also saw some mould growing in the little box/cupboard that houses the gas metre by the front door.

Are these issues deal breakers? We've been told by the agent that the vendor is considering an application to let the property and we need to make an offer asap.

My thinking is that every house has issues and this one has fewer than the others we've viewed, plus all the things we want (location, drive, decent enough garden, five bedrooms!!!) at a price we can afford. High end, but we can do it.

Dh is very worried about having to pay for repair work after draining our reserves to buy and move.

I am wanting to act now, and he is wanting to deliberate. Aibu??

specialsubject Fri 22-Jan-16 18:16:27

your surveyor may find the issue - but meantime have a look for blocked/loose gutters, blocked airbricks etc.

or just ask the vendor what he thinks it might be.

BTW owning a house means you WILL be paying for repair work at some point.

pilates Fri 22-Jan-16 18:17:37

I would get a couple of damp specialists in to find out what the problem is and how much it's going to cost before putting in an offer. You should be able to arrange this within 2/3 days. Done let the Agents pressurise you with their bullshit. Honestly they say anything.

goodnightdarthvader1 Fri 22-Jan-16 18:17:38

Not at all, most damp problems can be easily resolved.

specialsubject Fri 22-Jan-16 18:20:09

get in a damp specialist and there WILL be damp that WILL need expensive fixes.

find a surveyor who can tell you what is going on.

Allbymyselfagain Fri 22-Jan-16 18:24:14

I'd love to see how the seller will rent it with damp. I've lived in a house with damp, cost the landlord a fortune in the end because he kept ignoring it.

If you like the house make an offer subject to survey and get a full survey. see what they say, then you can quote the work up and see if the seller will take that off the purchase price. It might be easily fixable, it may not but if it is perfect in every other way you'll never know if you don't try

DrE678 Fri 22-Jan-16 18:28:28

Having owned a house in the past with an unsolvable damp problem I would say run a mile. We did all the right things- full survey, damp survey, reassurance from specialist damp company and a builder and roofer. We lost thousands on repairs and even more on resale. It was a nightmare and I was so surprised in the end to hear people saying that sometimes there are damp issues you just can't fix. We had eliminated all the sources at huge cost and it was still there (obviously there was a source but we never found it) and we know the next two owners also never found it as we are still friends with neighbours. It's a horror story but damp can be a nightmare.

IWannaBeAPopstar Fri 22-Jan-16 18:36:45

Yikes, DrE. That's definitely a story to bear in mind.

Oysterbabe Fri 22-Jan-16 19:01:49

I've lived in a house with damp problems and wouldn't go there.

SuperCee7 Fri 22-Jan-16 19:58:01

I'd always back away. My last house had damp problems - I can't count the amount of people we had put to look at it over the years but it was never resolved and I wouldn't take that on agai willingly

PurpleCrazyHorse Fri 22-Jan-16 20:16:00

We backed away from a house with a small damp patch in the hall as our surveyor wondered if it might be coming from a leaky radiator next door. Thought it could be a nightmare to resolve. Damp is just one of the things I hate.

However be warned that other issues might come up after moving in despite a good survey. We had a gas leak in the pipes under a bedroom floor on moving in day, gas pipework condemned, no heating or hot water for a week and a plumber ripping up the floor to solve the problem. Turns out all the pipes were also too small so had to have them changed all the way to the boiler. Several hundred pounds of work within one week of moving!

Not wanting to put you off but the damp might not be the only issue especially if they've ignored it, what else have they ignored? Definitely ensure you have a repairs budget if you buy it.

Binkybix Fri 22-Jan-16 20:19:49

Don't get a company that does damp work to look at it! Get an independent person who doesn't do the work!

Biscuitless Fri 22-Jan-16 20:25:26

I have bought two houses very happily without being scared off by damp. It does tend to put off people though so may take a bit longer to sell.

Does the house feel or smell damp? That's the main thing - paint bubbling off wall in a few places is ok for me, provided there is no mould/damp smell and no structural damage (e.g. rotting of timbers). You will often find mould in cupboards and odd corners due to condensation so that may or may not be related. There can be several causes of damp - leaking roofs/pipes/blocked gutters is one; another is inadequate ventilation causing condensation to form on the inside - for example installation of cavity insulation can cause damp. Rising damp is usually a myth used to sell expensive damp-proof remedial treatment.

Be warned that there is a HUGE scam industry re damp. Do not on any account get a "free" damp survey (they are salesmen who will try to sell you expensive damp solutions with worthless guarantees). Even many surveyors will take the safe route out and suggest a specialist damp survey from one of these companies

The below website is a really informative source of information

It could be a massive issue - or it could be nothing. It does however tend to be difficult to fix, in my first property we applied tanking and replastered three times and it still kept coming back.

lastnightiwenttomanderley Fri 22-Jan-16 20:25:59

There's a difference between damp showing up when someone is looking for it and quite another thing when it's ignored in plain sight! I'd be wary, either the vendors know it's serious or have ignored it in which case, as pps have said, what else has been ignored?

I know a good damp specialist who has looked at anything I've been worried about - either recommending (imo, as someone who works in construction) reasonably priced works or just identified the root cause (our house is currently rented out and the tenants refuse to use the extractors when cooking or showering so the tenants fears about rising damp were rather more benign in origin!).

Maybe offer and then get a specialist in to look at it (they should do this for free) as part of the survey process?

lastnightiwenttomanderley Fri 22-Jan-16 20:28:05

Oops, massive cross post! I think we might just be lucky with our guy in that case, plus he knows I design buildings for a living so am not entirely in uneducated on such matters.

IWannaBeAPopstar Fri 22-Jan-16 20:31:54

Thank you all for your insights. I'll be sharing this thread with dh and am checking right move again for other options....

NewLife4Me Fri 22-Jan-16 20:37:38

It depends on where the damp is coming from in terms of costs to fix.
What age is the property and is the damp only on outside walls.

I'm not a specialist by any stretch, but have renovated or modernised several houses, all with damp, so know a little bit.

It may be a case of putting some vented bricks in and giving the house a good airing, depending on its age.

If chimneys are damp/ ceilings a few hundred to fix, maybe?

If damp course has failed or house doesn't have one then this is more expensive.

IWannaBeAPopstar Fri 22-Jan-16 20:45:15

I don't have the answers to your questions. sad I think it might be the damp course.

KingJoffreyLikesJaffaCakes Fri 22-Jan-16 20:47:06

Wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.

ValancyJane Fri 22-Jan-16 20:50:09

I would get a damp specialist in to evaluate the problem, and give you a realistic idea of how much it would cost to put right, and it can be reflected in your offer. When we bought our house the survey came back saying there was a small amount of damp in a downstairs cupboard. Damp company said they could treat the issue for under £500 and it was an isolated issue so we went ahead with the purchase.

IWannaBeAPopstar Sat 23-Jan-16 20:28:49

We've decided against it. Onward and upward.

DrE678 Sat 23-Jan-16 21:57:32

Sensible in my experience. You'll find another one and it'll be perfect this time.

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