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Expert Advice for Homebuyers in Norfolk: Top Tips from a House Surveyor

Buying a property is often stressful, whether this is your first home or perhaps an investment property. There is a lot that can go wrong at any stage in the process, so it pays to be aware of the main issues buyers face after having a survey carried out.

Choosing the Right Survey

First, it’s important to choose the most appropriate survey for the property you are buying. You can learn more about surveys by speaking to a local surveyor.

An RICS Home Survey Level 2, previously called a Homebuyer’s Report, can be carried out by Norfolk surveyors. It uses a ‘traffic light’ system to highlight problems, depending on how serious they are, with red indicating something that needs urgent attention. A full building survey, now referred to as a RICS Home Survey Level 3, is done by an RICS approved surveyor and goes into greater detail. It is more appropriate for an older property or a listed building.

Common Problems Identified by Surveys

As building surveyors Norwich know, rising damp is very common in older properties, as damp-proof courses were not installed pre-1875, and DPCs using older materials may have failed. There is also penetrating damp and condensation, both of which cause similar issues.

Structural problems may also be identified in a survey. Issues like wet rot and dry rot can cause damage to structural timbers in the roof, which is expensive to treat. Subsidence is another issue to be aware of. While subsidence can be fixed, it can cause future problems with many insurers charging a lot more to insure a property that has had subsidence issues in the past.

Drainage issues might come up in a survey, especially in an older property where the exterior drains may have collapsed or be blocked.

Japanese knotweed is something surveyors look for, as it can be hugely destructive and very difficult to eradicate. If your surveyor finds Japanese knotweed within the property boundaries or very close nearby, it will impact your ability to get a mortgage or insurance on the property.

The Next Steps

Survey reports should be laid out in a way that is easy to understand, but if you need more clarification about an issue, speak to the surveyor. If issues have been identified, it’s sensible to consider whether you want to proceed with the purchase.

If it’s not a serious and potentially very expensive fault, get some quotes for the work or ask your surveyors Norwich to give you an idea of how much it is likely to cost to fix the problem. Once you have this information, you can go back to the seller and renegotiate the price you are willing to pay. Some sellers will be willing to discount the price whereas others won’t. It very much depends on the market and how keen they are to sell.

Until contracts have been exchanged, you are free to walk away from the purchase.

Remember, there are always other properties for sale so if this purchase falls through, you’ll find another one.


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