Be Your Own Surveyor
Before you buy a home,it is important that you make your self completely aware of the state of it’s structure. At some point before buying, you should obtain a survey from a qualified surveyor or house inspector; in fact, if you are borrowing money, your lender will insist that is surveyed professionally. But before you engage a surveyor, there are lots of things that you can look out for when you view the property yourself.
Start outside: don’t let the agent or occupants hurry you indoors.
– Foundations : how do they look? Are there any visible cracks? Is earth banked up against the walls? Are there any large trees nearby whose roots might be undermining the structure? Are the downpipes and overflows chanelled away from the property? Is there a damp proof course?
– Drains: Is the drain cover accessible? Is the concrete around the cover cracked? Does water rush or pool below the cover? Are rain water drains clear of debris?
-Walls: Are the walls standing straight? (Look at corners for any tell-tale bulges.) Are the cracks in the stone/brickwork? Is the mortar between the bricks loose? Is the render (stucco) loose? (Tap it to see if it sounds hollow.) Are weatherboards rotting? Are there any stains on the walls below/behind the guttering, beneath the roof or under the windows? Are the walls covered in moss or ivy?
-Exterior doors and windows: Are they warped? Are there traces of rot?Is the putty around the frames and caulking around doors in good condition? Do the doors and windows close securely? Are windows double-glazed?
-Roof: Has the roof recently been replaced or renovated? Does the ridge of the roof sag? Are there any loose slates or tiles? Can you see any cracks in the joints around chimneys or dormer window? Are the chimney stacks straight? Does the guttering look sound?
While you are outside, you may also want to inspect any outbuildings and the garden.
-Garden: Are the fences and paths in good condition? Does the water drain properly from terraced areas, patios, driveways and paths? Are steps and railings secure?
Once you’ve worked your way round the exterior, it’s time to start inside.?
– Walls and Ceilngs: Are they straight? Are there any cracks? (Look especially in the corners.) Are the surfaces in good condition? Are there gaps between the skirting boards and the walls? Are there any stains or bulges?
– Floors: Do the floors slope? Are the joists below the floorboards in good condition? (Check in the basement if poosible.)
– Basement: Does it smell musty? (A sign of dry rot.) Are there any signs of damp? Is the wiring and Plumbing tidy? Is there ventilation? (Look for metal grilles or air to circulate. These must not be covered or damp can set in.)
-Attic: Can you see light through the roof? Can you see any signs of damp? (Look especially around chimneys, skylight and along the walls.)
– Stairs: Are the stairs too steep or narrow? Can you get the whole foot on the tread? Is there enough headroom above the stairs? Are there light witches at the top and bottom? Are the stairs solid? Does the banister wobble?
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