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Would you buy a house with damp?

(55 Posts)
zippy539 Sun 04-Jun-06 20:12:16

To cut a long story short we've sold our flat and are now frantically looking for a house before ds starts school in August.

We've looked at loads but our favourite one is a double basement - the lower bit of which has a couple of visible damp patches plus a very damp aroma eminating from a bathroom. DH loves the place but is reluctant because of the damp. Is he right or over reacting? The estate agents have said that if the survey shows a problem we'll be able to negotiate downwards to compensate but DH is still reluctant. Does anyone have experience of damp patches? (in housing )

expatinscotland Sun 04-Jun-06 20:14:21


dewmeadow Sun 04-Jun-06 20:15:46


charliecat Sun 04-Jun-06 20:16:05

I really wouldnt.

WigWamBam Sun 04-Jun-06 20:17:10

I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole ... it could be costly to fix, and very unpleasant to live in until you got it fixed.

bubblerock Sun 04-Jun-06 20:17:29

I would and have in the past bought a house with damp, most old houses will show up as having damp in the survey it's par for the course. I presume the damp area you have noticed is underground though so I'm not sure if that poses a bigger problem with damp proofing. Personally I would ask if I could get a specialist out to take a look and get a quote on work needed then use this when negotiating a price for the house.

zippy539 Sun 04-Jun-06 20:17:46

Not even if it had a really nice kitchen? (pleading emoticon..)

fishie Sun 04-Jun-06 20:17:47

depends whether there's an easily fixable problem - leaking overflow or pipe somewhere, we had quite bad damp on ground floor, survey said it was 'rising damp' (which i don't believe exists) it was actually leaky gutter.

but if this basement is inherently damp then no, doesn't sound good and nothing nastier, it'll get in all your clothes and be just vile.

Gingerbear Sun 04-Jun-06 20:18:05

Oh no, been there and got the teeshirt. Our 250+ yo house was full of damp. We were so green we bought it with just a homebuyers survey. Get a full structural survey done on any older property. It cost us a fortune to put it right, and we still get rising damp in one wall now, even thought he whole place was damp-poofed, and we had new skin put on outside walls.
Basements are notorious for damp - and a specialist job to fix.

Aero Sun 04-Jun-06 20:18:05

No way.

zippy539 Sun 04-Jun-06 20:19:42

Oh bum. I really like it. The whole of the bottom level of the house is basically underground so I suppose it's an inevitability. But it has a lovely garden (another hopeful emoticon)...

expatinscotland Sun 04-Jun-06 20:21:15

nope. after watching colin and justin deal w/it and how much it cost to fix. uh uh.

WigWamBam Sun 04-Jun-06 20:21:38

You won't be living in the garden ... you'll be living in the damp, smelly house and paying through the nose to stop it being damp and smelly.

SoupDragon Sun 04-Jun-06 20:21:54

Yes I would. It's very common in older properties. We had it in our last house and it was a 2 day job to do and wasn't that messy even though they hacked a lot of plaster off (they cleared up!)

However, I would be wary of a damp basement because curing that is, I think, trickier. You could get a damp survey done.

zippy539 Sun 04-Jun-06 20:22:12

Thanks everyone - though you are obviously giving the wrong answer!

Gingerbear - what sort of guarantee did you get on the work (in terms of years?) and how much of an upheaval was it to get it done? The house dates from about 1850 so pretty ancient.

vitomum Sun 04-Jun-06 20:22:18

my house had damp when we bought it. we got quotes etc before the final offer was agreed. In the end it only cost about £500 to fix. I have to say though it was never at tha stage when we could smell it just walking into the room. On the other hand my friend discovered her dam after she had bought - cost about £10k to redo - total nightmare. So i suppose what i am saying is that it wouldn't make me totally rule out somewhere but i would want to know what i was dealing with before i made an offer.

zippy539 Sun 04-Jun-06 20:23:12

Ahhh - thankyou Soupdragon. There is hope!

zippy539 Sun 04-Jun-06 20:23:51

And vitomum

zippy539 Sun 04-Jun-06 20:25:40

I think the worry is not knowing what the extent of the damp is (or whether he had just had a shower and turned the extractor fan off for viewings). However, looking at the schedule it does look a bit foosty around the bottom of the walls. I'll see if I can post the schedule in case any professional damp experts happen to be lurking.

Gingerbear Sun 04-Jun-06 20:28:21

We didn't ove in until the damproof was redone. They stripped off the plaster to 3ft high from ground level on every wall drilled holes and injected chemicals. The problem was, this type of treatment is fine for regular solid brick walls, but a few years later, a structural engineer looked at the house and told us that the foundations and first two feet of the structure were of stone with no mortar, so injecting chemicals was practically useless. We ended up with the concrete floors being dug out, plastic sheeting laid and extended up the walls for two feet, then proper damp-proof course inserted like a modern house. It was a complete nightmare.

Katymac Sun 04-Jun-06 20:31:09

The basement could have been "tanked" in which case if it has failed then it is an insurance job (the companies insurance)

Retro fitting "tanking" is (I think) quite expoensive - but very reliable

Gingerbear Sun 04-Jun-06 20:32:34

thanks Katymac - I was trying to remember the term for dampproofing basements. Tanking is expensive.

zippy539 Sun 04-Jun-06 20:32:46

Thanks Gingerbear... hmmmm. Does sound like a nightmare. Everything I've read about damp seems to suggest that it is massively mis-diagnosed and then wrongly treated. Sounds like your story bears this up.

Oh God, I really like this house. I'll post a schedule..

Ellaroo Sun 04-Jun-06 20:35:12

Not in a million years. We bought a house that had damp patches on the walls - when you fix it you don't just need to get rid of the damp, you need to get rid of the wet rot in wood (windows, skirting boards, joists, floor boards, wall lathes - it will get everywhere) that it causes, and then when it's fixed you have to make sure that the wet rot doesn't become dry rot, which spreads very quickly. To allow the area to dry out properly you might need to also hack of the external render and take down the internal walls. It is not a small job. Did I mention the slugs???? Damp and excess moisture attracts slugs and our perfectly lovely looking house was a seething mass of slugs at nighttime - they got everywhere and we found them on the hob, in the sink and the floorboards were covered with slug trails every morning. To fix all that cost more than a sane person would have thought imaginable and I would never ever buy a house with even the smallest sign of damp. Sorry to lay it on with a trowel, but I was utterly traumatised by our experience (the house looked lovely and even our house survey didn't pick up just how big a problem it was) and would hate for anyone to go through what we went through. It is fixable; we fixed it (although we couldn't live in it for the months that it took for it to be fixed) and once it was fixed it was virtually a new house and it was really lovely and we never saw another sign of the slugs, but we are a lot worse off financially as it was not an amount we could ever recoup through selling.

LIZS Sun 04-Jun-06 20:35:28

Wouldn't necessarily rule it out, especially if otherwise suits you, bnut would wnat to know exactly what the problem and cost of solution would be before I made any offer and would ask that the work was done prior to completion if possible. EA must already know of the problem to say that.

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