When buying a property that requires a mortgage, your lender will instruct a Mortgage Valuation Report (MVR) to be carried out. This Report is not a thorough Survey you can rely on to find out any serious problems with the property.
You would also normally be asked if you would like your own more detailed Survey, such as a Homebuyer Report or Building Survey. You can allow your lender to go ahead and do this for you, OR you can choose your own Independent Surveyor to prepare your Report/Survey.
What problems to look out for when looking at properties to buy.
Four main areas are;
What is Structural movement?
Subsidence, settlement, heave, sway, bouncy floors, bulging walls, cracks, expansion and contraction are all forms of structural movement. Such movement occurs all the time, and usually its magnitude is so small it passes unnoticed. Only when distortions and cracks threaten the use or safety of the structure need we be concerned.
Timber Decay – The Cause:
Dry rot, the most aggressive wood-destroying fungus, thrives in unventilated voids. It often has a musty smell and can develop into grey/white cotton wool-like sheets with tiny orange spots. Wet rot sometimes produces brown strands and commonly causes exposed wood to soften and lose strength. Wood-boring insects include furniture beetle (‘woodworm’) and the larger death watch beetle, with the latter only usually affecting hardwoods. Flight holes and bore dust are symptoms. These fungi and insects all have one thing in common: they only usually cause significant damage where dampness exists. Their presence indicates an underlying building problem.
What types of damp and what causes it:
Dampness in buildings is most often related to one of three main issues:
There are sometimes other causes of dampness in properties such as leaking pipes or damaged drainage that should not be overlooked.
Why is Japenese Knotweed a problem?
In Japan, Japanese Knotweed is controlled naturally by a combination of fungus and insects. However, in the UK, there are no natural enemies for Japanese Knotweed and it outcompetes all our native species for light, water and nutrients.
The speed at which Japanese Knotweed has spread throughout Britain has been nothing less than spectacular. The damage it has already caused to commercial and domestic sites is practically unquantifiable and it now occupies a site in every 10km_ of England and Wales and is also present to a lesser extent in Scotland, Ireland and other parts of Europe.
The aggressive growth pattern is capable of exposing weaknesses in hard engineered structures such as concrete, tarmac, brick walls and foundations.
Specific problems caused by Japanese Knotweed are:
More recently, we have come across cases where the presence of Japanese Knotweed has caused problems such as the refusal of a mortgage or refusal from Local Authortity to grant planning permission until the Japanese Knotweed is eradicated.
It is now classed as “controlled waste” under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and requires disposal at licensed landfill sites. It should never be included in normal household waste and is listed under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, making it an offence to cause or allow the plant to spread in the wild.