About to buy our first ever property, questions...

(13 Posts)
bunny85 Wed 06-Jul-16 22:01:21

Hi all

We had our offer accepted on a 2 bed flat which we really like (good area, next to a great school etc), it's a 1st floor flat in a purposely built block. The only problem is, the building itself was built in 1930s. Inside the flat looks quite modern and you can't tell it's so old except for the pipes which are uncovered and run from radiators along the floor and up the walls. Apart from being slightly unsightly, it made me think of a general condition of the building, with my main concern being dampness. There's no sign of mould anywhere, but then, the flat has been redecorated recently. I didn't notice any smell. But generally speaking, is it common for an old flat to have mould problems, or is it mainly an issue with houses? It has double glaze and gas central heating.

Thanks a lot!

Wolfiefan Wed 06-Jul-16 22:02:54

Surely a decent survey will pick up issues?

bunny85 Wed 06-Jul-16 22:04:29

So you think we should go for a proper survey? On top of the one carried out by our lender?

Runningupthathill82 Wed 06-Jul-16 23:12:12

Has your lender done a survey, or just a valuation? As the valuation doesn't really look at the property at all. I wouldn't buy anything without getting a full survey. We paid £500 for ours and it was well worth it - flagged up lots of issues which we then had to take up with the vendor.

bunny85 Wed 06-Jul-16 23:17:55

Running, nothing has been done yet, the broker has only just applied for the mortgage. We are a bit unsure whether to go for a full survey as this property and all additional expenses is already a small fortune for us. Plus the plan is to get a house few years down the line and rent this flat out, so it's not our forever home. On the flipside, what's £500 compared to what we are going to pay anyway, so we might as well just do it for our own peace of mind..confused

BackforGood Wed 06-Jul-16 23:39:29

Why do you think the building will be mouldy ? Seems an odd worry. IME, mould in a flat or house is down to not heating and airing your flat well enough, not really much to do with when the block was built.

Would you be able to get chatting to any prospective neighbours and ask a few probing questions ?

GrubbyWindows Thu 07-Jul-16 00:03:40

Well, even if it's not your forever home you are clearly planning for it to be a long term investment, and you won't be able to let it out if it's falling apart. Just get the survey, it's worth it.
By the by, my experience of purpose built blocks from the thirties is that they are much more solid and well built than modern blocks!

Frontstep Thu 07-Jul-16 00:09:41

Get the survey but bear in mind that it will inevitably say all sorts of terrifying things and make you think the flat is unliveable in! All surveys read like that - doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't buy - but best to go in with eyes open

senua Thu 07-Jul-16 09:24:19

It's not just about your flat, what about the whole building? If the roof caves in tomorrow, for example, who pays for it? (Landlord? leaseholders? Check what the lease says). It should be covered by the service charge and if the flat is that old there should be a reserve fund (is there? how much is in it?) built up over the years to cover eventualities like this.
Get your solicitor to check the facts.

Allbymyselfagain Thu 07-Jul-16 19:12:21

Always get a full survey. I've just paid £750 for one that has ended up saving me over £35k in unbanked basement among other things. In the grand scheme of things they are so worth the money and you can use the results as a bargaining tool

Nightmanagerfan Thu 07-Jul-16 19:26:34

From experience, I'd be more worried about the possibility of major works to a building that age, as it sounds like you would be a leaseholder and therefore liable for a percentage of any work the landlord decides to carry out.
Good questions to get your solicitors to ask include:

When was the roof last replaced?
Is there a communal heating system, if so when was it replaced and does it break down, if so how often?
What provision is there for major work - is there a sinking fund?
Is there a leaseholders association? If so get in touch and ask about history of charges etc
What's the service charge and what does it include?
Will you own your windows and door? If not when were they replaced?

I mention this as I bought a flat less than two years ago and within 6 months was served a notice re: £42k worth of work. We have fought some of it but I wish I'd asked more questions!

bunny85 Thu 07-Jul-16 21:41:40

Massive thank you to everyone. Extremely valuable advices that I'm going to follow to the letter. Will speak with solicitors tomorrow and ask all those things.

bunny85 Thu 07-Jul-16 21:56:10

Also, we have this idea to go and meet the neighbours (only one flat on the same floor with us), just ring the doorbell and say that we are about to buy a flat next door and if there's anything they could advise us.

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