Buying a house can be exciting and stressful in equal measure. On the one hand, it’s fantastic to be on the way to creating a new home, but on the other hand the whole process is fraught with paperwork, logistics and risk. Trying to manage this whole process and ensure everything goes well can be incredibly daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. One nightmare scenario you may encounter is that you buy your dream house, but structural issues or poor renovation work cause major problems for you – leaving you to pick up the repairs and probably a very hefty bill to go with it. That’s why we encourage everyone buying a property to pay for a full pre-purchase survey, and not just settle for the one the bank tells you is good enough. A full pre-purchase building survey will pick up all sorts of problems you might not even know were there, ensuring you know exactly what you’re buying in. For example, a full building survey means you will:

Avoid Hidden Structural Issues

Both modern and older buildings can have significant structural or safety issues, whether it’s due to poor renovations and construction or simply a state of disrepair. So it’s vital that you’re aware of these problems before you buy the house. Assuming that a modern or recently converted property will have no faults is a fatal mistake, as many issues could have cropped up since construction was carried out. Even something as simple as badly installed windows or leaking drains can cause you problems with insulation, weather penetration and security further down the line. Having a pre-purchase survey carried out will make you aware of these issues before you commit to buy, so you can ensure that the current owners address the issues, or reduce the price of the property to compensate for the repair work.

Know Where You Stand With Subsidence

Across the entire UK, one of the biggest issues you will encounter when buying a new home is the risk of subsidence (where the earth underneath the property shifts and the property itself sinks). While this is something you should be looking out for in every property, it’s particularly important if you’re searching in London or the South, as these are the areas where subsidence is most prevalent (mainly thanks to the clay content of the soil). Subsidence is a nuisance, and it can throw all sorts of spanners in the works when it comes to buying a property. For example, if the house has experienced subsidence in the past, it can be nigh on impossible to get an insurer to cover it – you would usually have to continue the current owner’s policy instead, which isn’t always possible. Secondly, if the house is showing signs of subsidence that haven’t been caught yet, you could end up having to pay a small fortune to have the property underpinned to prevent further sinking. This will be followed by your insurance premiums skyrocketing. But by having pre-purchase survey, you are ensuring that a professional will be specifically looking for signs of subsidence in the property, so you know exactly where you stand. They can tell you if the property is showing signs of subsidence, has subsided before or is looking unaffected. This means you can make an informed decision on whether to go ahead with the purchase, or to drop your offer to offset some of the costs. Without one, you are shooting in the dark, and that’s a very expensive risk to take.

Understand The Drainage Situation

Following on from the subsidence comes one of the leading causes of subsidence in the South, and it’s the smallest of things. In fact, most buyers don’t even think about it when they’re looking at a property. The state of the property’s drains and drainage systems could have a huge impact on the structural stability of the house in more ways than one. Damaged or blocked drainage channels could mean you have plumbing issues, leaks within the house or a flooded room a few months down the line. But if the drainage lines are damaged and leaking underground, your property is at serious risk of subsidence, thanks to the water washing away the earth. So even if you can’t immediately see a problem, or the house shows no signs of subsidence, if your drains are damaged or leaking you need to get them fixed right away. Instead of waiting until you see the problems creep in, a pre-purchase survey means you can have them fixed before you even move in, reducing the risk of subsidence and other drainage issues.

At Goodyer, our team of experts have been working in the insurance building and repairs industry for over 25 years, and we can use all of that knowledge and experience to ensure that when you buy the home of your dreams, there will be no hidden, costly surprises at a later date. For more information on pre-purchase surveys and inspections, get in touch with the Goodyer team today.