There’s no feeling of excitement quite like looking around a property and coming to the realisation that you’ve found “the one”! The feeling of falling in love with a property is a lot like falling in love with your significant other. It happens almost at first sight, you’re bedazzled by all the great things about them and all you know is that you have to have them right now! But while you should absolutely put in an offer, you must always keep in mind that there’s usually more than meets the eye when it comes to buying a property. In the age of (in the words of our transatlantic cousins) “lipstick flips” where property speculators make cosmetic changes to a property to boost its sell rather than comprehensively addressing the building from a structural perspective, your seemingly ideal property could be hiding something nasty. Something that could decimate your new home’s value in a few short years or, worse still, prove a health hazard for you and your family.
Valuation vs Survey (and why you really need both)
Most first time buyers know that they need to perform some sort of checks prior to closing the deal but some are unsure of the difference between a valuation and a survey. Some may not be sure which they need but we’d advise you to carry out both. When weighing up a property valuation vs property survey it’s essential to understand the function of both. A property valuation looks at all the factors that might influence a property’s price. This is useful to ensure that the asking price is reasonable and to get a benchmark for what a reasonable offer may be. Surprisingly, however, a valuation has nothing to do with the structural aspects of the building. For this reason, a survey is also needed. A surveyor will help you to look for potential health hazards which will need to be addressed for the property to be considered safe. Without a proper survey, your perfect new home, especially if it’s an older home, may contain the following…
Most of us are aware of the health hazards presented by asbestos but we tend to think of it as a bygone problem of past generations. The truth, however, is that asbestos was only rendered illegal in the UK in 1999 with the most harmful form crocidolite banned in 1985. That means that even if your house was built in the relatively recent early ‘80s there’s a chance that it may contain harmful asbestos.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that may be lurking in the rock or soil beneath your property. The tricky thing with radon is that, like natural gas, it is odourless and tasteless. A good surveyor will perform radon tests.
Mould can indicate the presence of damp which may be attributable to dodgy plumbing somewhere in the house. Moulds can release harmful spores into your air so it’s vital that you not only look in all the unexpected nooks and crannies for signs of mould but also ensure that your survey identifies its causes.
Finally, it’s essential that you know your property stands on a string foundation. Hairline cracks or fractures in walls, zigzagging, sloping or sagging walls or floors can all point to an unstable foundation.