So you’ve saved hard for the deposit, put an offer in, now the survey is back and at 120 pages you’re starting to worry. The survey has indicated that hoards of Wood boring beetle (Woodworm) have munched their way through the roof timbers and are busying themselves chewing through the floor timbers. Now there is a chance this is an accurate assessment of the home you wish to buy though in most cases it’s not !

I feel for the surveyor, I really do, they are often paid a tidy sum to check that your hard earned investment will stand the test of time and in today’s culture if they missed a dodgy tap washer they are getting sued !

Well I can’t professionally comment on all aspects of the property , plumbing, electrics or even serious structural problems but I can give you some idea of damp related issues and the decay caused to timber by Woodworm and fungal attack (Dry & Wet rot). And it’s rarely as damming as it seems.

When presented with a surveyors report , prior to purchase, it’s worth noting that the report will contain a number of categories which lend it to being very bulky:

  • There will be a large section of legal bits and pieces.
  • There will be areas of generic information explaining in detail what an issue means.
  • Assumptions will be made about the future possibility of issues arising.
  • Often there is a description of building related terms and fixtures/features.
  • And finally there will be pockets of information where a problem has been identified.

I have simplified things somewhat and I am by no means disputing the need or accuracy of surveys but I find the length and bulk of some simply scare people off the purchase and that can’t be good given the issues with property availability in the UK.

Our advice is ask a builder,plumber,electrician and damp proofer to take a look at the report at least (If you know such people all the better) try to determine where the actual issues lie and when they will need addressing and at what likely cost ?

Where damp or timber issues are noted , it’s simple call us and we will at the least decipher the report and if required visit the property and Provide our report on these specific issues.

Complete your own basic damp related checks :

  • Do the gutters and down pipes look ok, are they full of debris/foliage ?
  • Are there any areas where the external ground is higher against the internal floors?
  • Do timber floors bounce and creak ?
  • Is there history or evidence of flooding or plumbing leaks ?
  • Are external finishes in good order (paint,render,pointing, masonry condition), is the finish appropriate for the buildings style and age (Lime or sand/cement).
  • Is the roof in good order ? Are top floor ceilings stained which may indicate ingress through the roof.

These are a few of the key pointers that may allow you to get an idea of potential Damp related issues but also be aware of the type of property you’re purchasing. A 1970s bungalow will almost definitely have a damp proof course and cavity walls so issues are likely to be minimal in relation to structural dampness. A 17th Century cottage in a rural environment will almost certainly have some issues though the adequate heating and ventilation will normally keep most issues at bay, but be mindful that you may have to accept some issues if you want to retain period features ,Inglenook fireplace are an example of this. Often displaying signs of dampness but with no real impact on the structure sometimes it’s a trade off !

So when you get the survey report and it looks like you will need a week off to read it don’t be too anxious try to decipher what if any problems really exist. Whatever they are we can help and advise whether that’s rising or penetrating damp, woodworm or dry rot, cold wet cellars or mouldy condensation prone bathrooms. Call or message us today you can even forward us the report and we will decipher it for you.