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help to understand homebuyers' survey

(12 Posts)
orangeshortbread Thu 03-Apr-14 19:02:22

I have just had the homebuyers' survey back for a victorian property and I am panicking a bit at the number of red 3 warnings! I am very inexperienced with property/DIY issues so I would really appreciate a bit of help interpreting how much of an issue the following things are that have been flagged up. Could anyone offer any advice on whether you would pull out or if they are easily fixed and also which are urgent and which could wait:

1. Chimney stacks - "The chimney stacks themselves are in reasonable condition for their age, although there is the odd loose brick and small areas of poor mortar pointing. However, the joint of the stacks to the roof covering is formed with mortar fillets. These have a very limited life and crack away due to differential movement and expansion of the various materials. It is advised that the stacks are generally overhauled and that lead flashings are fitted which will have a much longer life"

2. Guttering - "There is a deformed section of plastic guttering to the rear single storey section, this will require to be repaired/replaced. Prices should be obtained."

3. outside walls - "However, the left-hand bay window on the front elevation has significantly deformed brickwork and it would appear that this is continuing as indicated by the cracking and gaps where new windows have been fitted. The brickwork to both the piers and above the windows will now need to be rebuilt."

4. walls - "I found high moisture readings to the front wall in the first floor bedroom cupboard. This was just below the window and looks to be moisture penetration. The joints beneath the window, along within the pointing in the vicinity should be checkedand dealt with as necessary."

5. moisture - "High moisture readings were found to the chimney breast in the rear bedroom indicating that flue condensation is a problem here. The affected plasterwork will need to be stripped off and removed, damp-proofing applied to the brickwork and then replastering works undertaken"

I really appreciate any advice you could offer!

MotherOfChickens Thu 03-Apr-14 19:25:55

To me it would all depend on how much you want the property and how much you are prepared to spend rectifying the points raised. The only one that would be of a real concern to me would be point 3 and I would want to get quotes for all the qrepair works before proceeding. The cost of the works, if you still want to go ahead may mean that you might want to renegotiate your offer on the house.

With regard to the other points on the survey they are all common issues that come with a property that is over 100 years old and are a matter of maintenance to ensure that the house is good for another 100 years.

It wouldn't put me off (but I would want point 3 investigating further) however I have experience in renovating properties.
Good luck!

cupcake78 Thu 03-Apr-14 20:32:26

Anything can be fixed for a price! It's the price v's want and need that's the deal breaker.

By the sound of it the chimney stacks need looking at. The bay window needs firming up. The guttering needs clearing out (you could do this with ladders!). The damp would concern me as the type of damp hasn't been mentioned and it can vary greatly in cost.

I'd get a builder to go round the property with the survey, give you estimates of the work suggested and take it from there.

evertonmint Thu 03-Apr-14 20:36:50

1 and 2 wouldn't bother me - simple jobs to fix, part and parcel of home owning.

3 is the one that worries me most, and 4 & 5 might be easy or expensive.

Get a builder to have a look and provide a quote. Also ask how urgent each job is because surveys generally highlight everything that needs doing but give little idea of timescale - e.g. Will the mortar on the chimney fail within a year or in the next 5/10? That will help you understand how much you'll need to pay for upfront vs how much can be treated as just routine maintenance as needed.

fiorentina Thu 03-Apr-14 20:40:21

Sounds very similar to our survey on a similar house. We chose to have the chimney repointed and reflashed. We do still have some damp in one chimney breast but it's drying out.

I am not sure about 3 but so far we've spent around £2000
remedying these issues to give you some guidance.

BellaI Thu 03-Apr-14 22:53:05

For the damp issues you could look at companies who are member of the Property Care Association (PCA). I paid £99 for a survey of timbers in house we are buying which reinforced the issues the homebuyers report had raised, and gave a price to repair. We went back to seller and got £500 back on our agreed price which was under the asking price. These issues def give you grounds for re-negotiation if you can get quotes.

purpleroses Thu 03-Apr-14 22:56:37

Surveyors always make things sound bad as they have a duty to say everything possible wrong with the house so you don't sue them later.

I rang mine for a chat on the phone which I found really helpful. I think he felt free to talk much more openly on the phone and was able to give me an indication which of the things he mentioned were really a cause for concern and which weren't. I even asked him "would you buy this house?" which is really what you want to know but is never in the survey. (I bought the house, and 7 years on, it's doing fine)

Lottie4 Fri 04-Apr-14 10:03:37

Points 1 and 2 sound like general maintenance advice to me, something you should think about doing in the first year. The guttering won't be too expensive to sort out.

Personally, I would get points 3-5 checked out and obtain some quotations, then try and negotiate a reduction on the price. No property is going to be maintenance free, but it's good to know what's involved and possible costs before you buy.

patchesmcp Fri 04-Apr-14 12:03:59

OP we're in the same position as you - homebuyer survey back with a number of things flagged up in red to be looked at. It's scary as I have to say I don't really understand a lot of it, and you're spending so much money you don't want to get it wrong.

To the poster who rang the surveyor (sorry I can't remember your name blush ) was your surveyor someone you instructed or someone your bank instructed on your behalf? I'm contemplating doing this too, but wondered if because the bank instructed them on our behalf whether they'd be prepared to talk to me.

purpleroses Fri 04-Apr-14 12:26:45

I think the bank appointed the surveyor - because they needed to use their one so they would approve the mortgage. But he was still fine for me to ring him for a chat. If you can find a phone number there's no harm in asking.

MillyMollyMama Fri 04-Apr-14 18:32:07

3. Would bother me. I would try and ask the surveyor why he thinks the wall is "deformed". It is a fairly odd description and, as he thinks it needs rebuilding, what has caused this amount of damage? Is it a problem with the foundations, or lack of them, under the bay window? If there are cracks, it is subsidence or heave? He says the movement is active, but has obviously not monitored it over any length of time so how does he know this? I would get a Structural Engineer to look at the deformed wall and the cracking. A builder is absolutely not qualified to say what the problem is or how to rectify it!

All the other things can be corrected by a competent builder. I would get quotes and knock the price down. However if the bay windows are a major problem, the current owner can claim on their insurance. You may struggle to get insurance if it is a major problem which has not been rectified.

orangeshortbread Sat 05-Apr-14 17:51:15

Thank you to all who replied - that is really helpful. We are going to phone the surveyor on Monday and try to get a bit more information as well a sense of the urgency of issue 3.

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