Home Buyers Report Feedback...Help!(10 Posts)
We are first time buyers and have had the homebuyers report back on the property we are purchasing.
The property is a two bedroom converted ground floor flat in a two storey house, built around 1900. It was valued at the asking price so no issues there, however there were a number of 3 (red) items on the report that has us worried. These are;
1) Main walls - 'some deterioration, softness and wear is noted to brickwork requiring re-pointing'. 'systematic checks for dampness to the inside face of external walls reveals a number of significantly raised readings, further dampness is evident to the shared hallway'.
2) Walls and Partitions - 'Quite extensive areas of hollow, loose and damp plaster are present and you should anticipate some re-plastering'. 'Systematic checks for dampness to the face of internal walls reveals some signicant raised readings in a number of areas'
3) Floors - 'Walls are damp and therefore sub floor timbers built into or attached to the walls are susceptible to rot'
4) Woodwork - 'Some internal door fittings show signs of wear and tear, the repair and replacement of such fittings can prove difficult and expensive'. 'Timber defects such as infestation by woodboring beetle are not uncommon in properties of this age and type'
5) Other - 'some condensation related issues are noted on inspection'
6) Electricity - 'there is no recent test certificate, dated within the last 12 months for the installation', 'the observed wiring and fittings are a mix of ages suggesting partial re-wiring in the past, some areas may require updating'
7) Gas - 'there is no recent test certificate, dated within the last 12 months'
As you can see there is quite alot of warnings which require immediate attention so it has overwhelmed us! Would be grateful of any feedback as to the severity and costs involved in the above? And ultimately if these are things that would lead us to consider pulling out of the sale?
Thanks in advance for any feedback!
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I'm not sure that any of that is particularly alarming! As far as I can work out, you only need to deal with the first point immediately. The rest are things that might be problematic. I think they're just covering themselves!
Well, 6 and 7 are just standard arse-covering survey stuff. Why would there be a certificate if it was owner-occupied? Getting gassafe certificates etc is only something you do if you're a landlord letting out your property. How old do you think the wiring is, based on the type of consumer unit/ visible sockets etc? Factor in some money for partial rewiring if you think some of it is pretty old. Better yet, call the surveyor and ask him what he means by it. He will probably commit to telling you more over the phone than he will in writing.
4 is just weird. Buildings of this age are susceptible to infestations... yes but was there evidence of such? Why point out the bleeding obvious if it's not relevant? Presumably you could see the wear and tear of the door frames yourself. They are not particularly difficult or expensive (in the scheme of things) to replace. Could you close the doors? They're probably alright then.
The thing about plastering is also weird and completely expected in a property that age. Basically, don't go blowing off wallpaper with a steamer and expecting it all to be OK. If you want a feather finish like a new build before painting, budget for it.
1 to 3 require more attention, but the damp is most likely caused by poor ventilation (note #5), if not, something leaking? Some damp is inevitable in a property that age. Again, I would ring him for a chat. He will recommend a specialist damp survey, which is probably worth doing if he thinks the readings are abovev and beyond normal for that type of property. Ask if he can recommend someone local who isn't just trying to sell you something.
I can't claim to have any knowledge about this, just experience of buying two Victorian houses both of which came with alarming sounding home buyers reports. I take the view that it comes with buying a character property. If you are planning on doing some work anyway none of that sounds expensive, unless you were hoping to buy somewhere immaculate. In which case u might be better off with a new build,.
Often they are just covering themselves - Our last one erroneously said the roof would need replacing in a property that old but I knew that it had had a brand new roof two years previously (and roofers at a neighbouring property had exclaimed to their owners what a high quality roof it was). It also suggested the floorboards could be about to cave in due to some sort of rot 10 yrs later and they haven't collapsed yet)
You can get some quotes and try to negotiate some money off but it depends on if you feel you are getting a good deal already.
The gas certificate part means there is no proof the boiler has been serviced in the last year or so. You could ask that the vendors have it serviced and get a certificate. This is not the same as a gas safe certificate.
1-3 might require a bit more investigation but the rest are fine.
It might be worth going back to have a good look at the exterior and interior walls for missing mortar, damaged brick work or interior damage such as peeling wall paper.
I agree with the other posters that most of his comments are just 'surveyor speak' and to be ignored. Cross out the electrics, gas and possible woodworm comments. They are generic statements that get slapped in any report. If you want to be an annoying FtB you can insist the vendor produces certificates or you can sort that out yourself when you move in and get your own boiler serviced and check your own electrics.
Replacing door furnishings is not really a big deal either.
If this was my report I would be registering the following issues;
I will probably need to pay towards repointing outside walls (this is a normal maintenance issue but might not be your responsibility if you are leasehold).
I would contact the surveyor and ask him exactly which walls he took the very high readings and what they were.
Pretty much all Victorian houses will have some damp according to metres. And they will all have dodgy sections of plaster too. The bit that would make me want to know more is the fact that it is internal walls showing damp readings. Is there a leaky pipe which belongs to a neighbour causing this or is it a condensation problem?
Condensation is easily sorted but other problems can take a bit of effort. Replastering sections is a messy process but not hideously expensive. But you can't tackle that unless you have addressed the damp problem. A further survey is probably your best bet but don't get tricked into chemical solutions!
Ultimately, you will always have tricky issues on a Victorian property, its just a matter of if are you happy the sale price reflects this. If not, renegotiate.
Don't quote me but I think I read that damp meters are not designed for use on plastered walls.
Damp readings are probably due to condensation.
Could you smell damp or see mould?
The door thing is weird. Door fittings are simple to replace.
Gas and electric - it says this on every report.
Floor timbers and rot - again, if the damp meter detects moisture they will write this to cover themselves.
I'd check out the damp a bit further as there is blown plaster, but damp isn't necessarily the end of the world even if there is some (and it is probably just condensation caused by poor ventilation/drying clothes inside etc
And this is exactly why homebuyers reports are often pretty much useless. Lots of arse covering and recommendations for further checks to be done etc. It's over a hundred years old, it is expected that you will have to maintain stuff. And none of what has been said stands out to me.
My first house was a 30s semi (solid walls) and it was recommended to do the pointing. We didn't in the 6 years we were then. And the people we sold to got told the same thing. Yes at some point it will need redoing, but probably not immediately. Have a look at neighbouring properties. See if they've had their pointing done more recently. Damp is most likely condensation. It is likely to be a solid wall construction (not cavity) which doesn't help. I'd be careful about putting furniture against external walls and make sure you have good ventilation.
You could get a damp specialist to have a look but they invariably try and flog chemical injection to stop 'rising damp' and want to rip a load of plaster off.
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