First Time Buyer. How do I Know I'm not Buying a Delapidated Home?(14 Posts)
I am looking to buy my first home but I have no experience in this area. I'd love a new build but budget will not allow. What do I need to check to ensure I'm not buying a house that will cause problems? I feel like a need a checklist and method of assessing what would be a good buy.
Here is an example of what of the kind of places I'm looking at: www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-42167799.html
It was made in the 1930s so I have no idea how I could assess the state of it.
Well you request a home report which is a starting point and you can also pay for addition surveys -structural etc. I havent clicked the link but will now.
Also, have you set upba help to buy isa as you will get 25% of whatever you have saved as a bonus from the government
Looks good on the face of it. The owners have done a lot of work to it and its good to see they rewired it etc. Check the home report
If you have a separate survey done, it should pick up on any problems.
If you need a mortgage, they'll need a survey to determine if it's worth what they're lending you.
I'd be looking out for the roof needing redoing, big cracks indicating subsidence, a need for rewriring.
It's worth keeping in mind that the surveyors write their reports to cover their own back. Ours was done this week and they didn't look in the loft or at the fuse box despite me offering to show them. I know they will write that they need checking by specialists on their report. Likewise damp. The methods they use are a bit dubious, especially in older homes.
Short answer: you don't.
Pay for a proper full structural survey from a local expert. Get them to take ladders and ask them to go in the loft. Not the home buyers report from the mortgage co. If you are going to offer near to asking Get a roofer and electrician round to check the major points that can go wrong. Knock and meet the neighbours. By far the most £ you'll spend is in a dispute you didn't know about with them!
Look on the bright side: All houses, like people, have things wrong with them and will soak up money.
A 1930's house will need work to some or all of: Roof, plumbing, wiring, damp, drains, woodworm, plaster, windows, decoration.
A thorough survey will pick up some, but not all the faults.
You will be annoyed to find the survey repeatedly says, in flowery language, "I don't know if there is anything wrong with X, I recommend you get a specialist to look at it"
New houses also have things wrong with them.
You pay for a proper survey. Experienced buyers aren't experts either, but surveyors are. That's their job. No house is perfect and every survey will identify some problems and that's when you need to decide how important it is and investigate how much it would cost to fix. We've had surveys identify rotten window frames, low water pressure and an uneven kitchen floor. The vendor sorted out the water pressure and we decided to fix the other two ourselves as the cost was not so great it put us off the houses.
I suppose the obvious things to look for when viewing properties would be cracks in walls, damp patches, sagging roof or lots of roofing tiles missing, extensions which are moving away from the main building, mould. But there's all sorts of things which won't be visible and only a professional will spot.
ALL houses will need some sort of work at some point in time - you'd be lucky to find something that didn't. The point of a survey is to make sure there aren't any serious/costly problems OR, if there ARE serious/costly problems, to flag them up so you know what it will cost to put right. As long as this cost is factored into your house-purchase budget you are OK.
You get a survey. Last time if did, there were three sorts:
Mortgage valuation - carried out by your mortgage co. To check it's worth what they're lending (remember, that's all they need to get back, not the full price you pay, though they'll give a total value in their report). Simplest sort of survey.
Homebuyer's report - standard survey, you pay for it.
Building Survey - this is what structural surveys are called now. More in depth than a homebuyers, done by surveyors with a higher standard of training. Useful for older and unusual houses or where you suspect there's a structural issue.
Two important points:
Part of the reason for paying for a survey is that you have a contractual relationship with the surveyor. They are regulated and insured. If they make a big mistake you can sue them and hope to get a settlement that pays for rectifying the issue they missed.
If the survey recommends that you check something - state of roof, cost of re-wiring etc, check it. Get a few quotes before purchase so you know what you're facing. Surveyors cannot see everything e.g. They don't climb onto roofs or pull up floors but they can spot clues that things might be amiss. If they're telling you to get something checked, it's because they've spotted something, they don't know how far amiss it might be and, if far, it could be expensive, so you must find out. You have no comeback if they told you to check and you don't.
But as above, there will be some buts and maybes in your survey, covering themselves. The things you have to take really seriously are their urgent and high priority recommendations.
Also, make sure you give a copy of your survey to your solicitor. Don't show, give. They must have it on file so that you have some redress if they fail to raise a relevant issue.
Ooh, also to mention, make sure your surveyor is a member of RICS. You can search for their members here: www.ricsfirms.com/
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