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Which?

You’d have to have been on another planet lately if you haven’t heard the news about the improvement in the property market, everywhere you look you will find sensationalist stories regarding the property market being at its busiest since the market crash in 2007. We have certainly seen a large increase in demand for pre-purchase surveys, that’s surveys related to a house sale, calls taken over the latter half of this year have increased dramatically, prior to 2007 we used to carry out between 15-20 pre purchase surveys per week but this had dropped significantly since the downturn.

We now find ourselves carrying out 15-20 pre purchase surveys week in week out and if anything were getting busier, we anticipate that with the governments ‘Help to Buy’ scheme that activity will only increase. This time round the bank/building society surveyors are being extremely cautious whilst carrying out their surveys, this more than likely stems from the many disputes received from the surveys carried out pre crash, it was not uncommon for surveyors to carry out a ‘drive by’ valuation, this usually consisted of a surveyor visiting the property and basically sticking his head in the door for a quick look and taking no more than 5 minutes to carry out the survey, this obviously led to lots of unforeseen problem arising further down he line once the sale had completed.

Survey companies have had to deal with an avalanche of complaints from disgruntled clients often resulting in expensive litigation cases, a lot of people say that this serves them right and was obviously brought on themselves by not carrying out a thorough survey in the first place. Fast forward to the recent rise in purchasing activity in the housing market and surveyors are the total opposite to what they were in the past and this is where the problems arise, with surveyors now being extremely/over cautious they all seem to have pre-populated paragraphs in almost all of their surveys stating that a prospective purchaser should instruct a damp proofing expert to carry out a damp & timber report on the property.

Now whilst I do think this is a sensible thing to do for any prospective purchaser considering its probably largest financial purchase your going to make, I’m aware that this can cause problems to the potential sale, just because a bank/building society surveyor has recommended you get a damp and timber report carried out this doesn’t mean that the house is riddled with damp, quite often the alarm bells start ringing at this point and can put a real dampener on the situation. More than half the pre purchase surveys we carry out result in a lot less work than was originally thought and sometimes no works are at all are required.

When purchasing an older property you have to be aware that their is the possibility of a few issues regarding dampness, these issues should definitely not put you off purchasing the property as they can usually be rectified quite easily by a competent damp proofing company, you may have already agreed a purchase price but this is always ‘subject to survey’ if any remedial works are identified this is the time that you receive quotes for works required and negotiate with the vendor to come to a mutually agreed course of action.

I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t let a bit of damp put you off your dream house, damp issues can be resolved fairly easily by using a competent surveyor to diagnose the dampness and carry out any remedial works.