Worried my house is unsaleable

(22 Posts)
OhNoWhatDoIDoNow Fri 07-Aug-20 16:13:21

I posted about this back in May but on the wrong board, and didn't get much response.

Basically DP and I are both trying to sell our houses so that we can buy one together. I bought this place 15 years ago when I was 20 and very naive. It was built in 1995 and is on a very large estate. Buyer's surveyor has picked up that the DPC was not done correctly and is three courses higher than it should be along one wall. For some reason this was not picked up by my surveyor when I purchased it. It's never caused me a problem but understand that it might cause issues one day. Not only this but there's no record of the building regs or NHBC (which would have expired when I bought the house anyway).

We had buyers pull out as soon as these issues came to light, I panicked and took the house off the market. Is there anything I can do to rectify either of the situations before putting it on again? I'm guessing the asking price might take a hit if I am lucky enough to sell at all...

OP’s posts: |
Mosaic123 Fri 07-Aug-20 16:19:36

I wonder if you could have a full. Structural survey done of your own property by a very experienced local surveyor that would say, in writing, that these issues are non issues. In others words this would reassure potential buyers. The agent could show it to any viewers so they are not put off.

titchy Fri 07-Aug-20 16:31:39

Damp proof courses aren't particularly expensive or messy - get one done!

OhNoWhatDoIDoNow Fri 07-Aug-20 16:34:13

Thanks @Mosaic, that's something to think about. But scared that the surveyor would said it is a potential issue though sad

OP’s posts: |
OhNoWhatDoIDoNow Fri 07-Aug-20 16:35:42

@titchy it's higher than it should be because the ground outside is higher... And belongs to a neighbour (who we don't get along particularly well with) blush Absolute nightmare

OP’s posts: |
HooseDilemma Fri 07-Aug-20 19:24:45

If you took your house of the market, then of course you will never sell! If these are genuinely non-issues you'll need a buyer who understands the survey. If they are not non-issues, your price needs to reflect the cost of fixing the issue.

Tbh, I really don't understand why you panicked in the first place

OhNoWhatDoIDoNow Fri 07-Aug-20 20:15:33

If they are not non-issues, your price needs to reflect the cost of fixing the issue.

The problem is that I'm not sure whether they are non-issues or not, and if they are then I'm not sure they can be fixed sad

OP’s posts: |


incywincydardar Fri 07-Aug-20 20:17:58

Put it back on.
The last 2 houses we've sold without the buyers even wanting a survey.
1 x 3 bed that was 7 years old and 1 x 4 bed that was 12 years old.
First ones cash buyers and second ones didn't feel that a survey was needed on a 12 year old house.

Laska2Meryls Fri 07-Aug-20 20:18:54

You can get a new damp proof course injected . If its a problem...check local suppliers..

WoolyMammoth55 Fri 07-Aug-20 20:30:11

Hi @OhNoWhatDoIDoNow, I'm no expert but from my experience:

- DPC should be solveable. You must have access to at least one side of the affected wall? Or else it wouldn't be a problem with your property?? So then you can just contact a local damp-proofing company for a quote to remedy, and then either do the works or adjust the asking to price to reflect the cost. We had a quote recently for an injectable DPC on a wall where the original one had "failed" and it was £700 for a pretty large wall, including the re-plaster to make good - obviously yours might cost more but just to give you a benchmark figure!

- Building regs: for this one I'd contact your local authority building control team. See if they'll (a) check their records for your property to see what was issued when it was built, and (b) see if they can advise what to do next assuming there aren't the correct certificates. We're currently extending and have found the local team to be really efficient and helpful. There might be a way to get retrospective sign-off from them, or they might be able to point you to a local surveyor who can "certify" the property now.

I think your worst-case scenario is getting a valuation done by that same surveyor as to what the market price is with the limitations in place. At the end of the day all property in the UK will sell, the only question is at what price. We bought a year ago and saw a couple of places that had been "renovate" in deeply unsafe and amateurish ways and consequently had massive amounts of remedial works required to make them insurable and safe to inhabit... DIY roofing at unsafe angles with huge leaks, one dude who'd DIY converted his garage and it was falling down and rendering the whole house unstable!! We still viewed, then we made reasonable offers depending on the costs of sorting out the chaos smile

So I'm sure there's a way forward to sell - just get some good professional advice and decide how you want to proceed. Good luck! <3

Seracursoren Fri 07-Aug-20 22:33:14

Completely agree with wooly in checking with building regs records for your property as a starting point.

But please stop meeting trouble half way and actually contact a damp proofing company who can usually advise you over the phone. You won't be the only one who has ever had this problem. It is probably solvable.

So, building regs certificate info first, then damp proof company.

JoJoSM2 Sat 08-Aug-20 06:45:07

Was it first time buyers that pulled out? I think they tend to be more nervous as they have no experience and many would rather walk away.

Your house sounds pretty standard otherwise.

eurochick Sat 08-Aug-20 07:06:25

A technical issue with the DPC that isn't causing a problem shouldn't be an issue. As others have said, it's fixable for a few hundred pounds if it does ever cause an issue.

I'm not sure why the surveyor was interested in an NHBC certificate that must have expired 15 years ago. As for building regs, surely that can be tracked down via the council if needed.

None of these things sound like a particular issue.

BestOption Sat 08-Aug-20 07:24:40

What have you done since taking it off the market?

As others have said you need to contact a DPC, personally I can't see why it being higher is a problem but as is probably quite evident I'm no DP specialist! They'll be able to advise you & give you a quote.

Council for the BR stuff, it might cost you a few quid, but not much.

If asked why you took it off the market 'covid of course!'

I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill. Are you sure you do actually want to sell your house (independence) & buy with DP?

These days (older & wiser, with a few knocks along the way). I'd do things differently. I'd keep the house, rent it out & raise my share of a minimal deposit via other means (increase my mortgage on my house maybe). I know that's not very romantic, but these days I prefer security & financial independence...plus being with someone because you want to be there, not because you've boxed yourself into a corner IS a nice feeling, if not exactly romantic.

wowfudge Sat 08-Aug-20 07:31:03

Neither of these things are issues imho. Unless building control were notified of something then there's no issue. If you contact them now you risk notifying them. Nothing was flagged when you bought it so why would it be now? Just put it back on the market and stop trying to predict non existent issues arising. Is there something else going on here? Are you reluctant to sell and buy with your DP or scared it might not work out?

MistressMounthaven Sat 08-Aug-20 07:37:16

If you don't want to pay an buildings engineer or speak to solicitor about the firm that built the house the easiest way to start getting info is to talk to experienced builders.
Just get on the phone. Preferably to a good local one recommended to you - I have had some great ideas from experienced craftsmen.
But don't start down the route of 'Oh Jim up the road said he could do it for only 200" - I have a friend who does this and every job she tries to get at the cheapest price is a shit job. If you aren't a roofer/builder/bricky/joiner how can you have a clue what a 'good' price is. But get advice from several then make decisions when you have the knowledge.

OhNoWhatDoIDoNow Sat 08-Aug-20 08:40:28

Thank you all so much for the advice and reassurance. I am desperate to sell the house, but don't want to waste people's time and money if these issues are going to come up again. I am hoping that the (yes, first time!) buyers just had an over zealous conveyancer. I have no idea why they got hung up on the NHBC. I think they did the searches and the council didn't have a record of building regs, but I don't know what efforts they made to trace the NHBC. They pulled out very quickly and I didn't get a chance to try resolving things.

In terms of the DPC, I think as it's a cavity wall it's only the outer part that is a "problem". And we'd have to go onto the neighbour's property to access it and possibly work on it.

Giving a builder a call sounds a good plan, I will do that next week.

OP’s posts: |
titchy Sat 08-Aug-20 09:33:37

Don't go to a builder get a damp proof specialist in.

Seracursoren Sat 08-Aug-20 09:43:46

Agree with titchy you need a damp proof specialist who can provide you with paperwork once the issue has been corrected. Not a builder.

But firstly, building regs. Even if something doesn't need planning it still needs building regs. When your house was built a building inspector has to come round and sign off on the work. That should be your first port of call. Someone signed off on your house when there is an issue.

Your local council website should have details of the building control section. Don't worry about not really knowing what you are talking about, you are not meant to be an expert, they are. Just tell them that a survey came back saying your DPC was too high and how do you go about finding the building regs certificate for your property when it was built.

Then contact a damp proof company, tell them what the survey said. Again, you are not stupid, you just don't know about damp proofing, this isn't an issue, you aren't building a house grin. Most people don't know about a damp proof course and how many bricks up it is meant to be, unless like me you watched them build your extension and asked a lot of questions blush still doesn't make me an expert.

WoolyMammoth55 Mon 10-Aug-20 11:52:53

Hi OP, I think you're not correct about the DPC treatment needing to be applied to the outer part of the cavity wall. We've had DPC treatment on the inside - based on the fact that the damp can penetrate the cavity without being an issue, you just need it to not enter the house! But again I think you're making an assumption that it's a bigger problem than it perhaps is - the damp proof company you contact will give you the right advice smile Best of luck!

NotQuiteUsual Mon 10-Aug-20 13:10:33

We had damp come up on our survey, but a chat with vendors was all it took to resolve it. I think if the buyers pulled out for just that, they were likely a bit flighty anyway. It's really not as scary as it sounds.

user1471528245 Mon 10-Aug-20 13:26:52

If this Was a new build from 95 I suspect you’ll have a Plastic membrane going across the floor This then goes into the wall, what they will have done is at the end it is higher they have stepped it in wall up a few extra courses, pretty common where you have different ground levels, as they would have had instant damp problems if they had kept it at the same level as the opposite end, get a doc company to take a look but for the age of the house it’s a non issue, it’s the surveyed covering all the bases Just in case

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