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Beware the hidden problems, warns
Winchester property surveyor Trinity Rose...

WHEN buying a property, it’s easy to be impressed by shiny new kitchens and bathrooms - and fail to spot the leaky roof or broken boiler.

Research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has revealed many buyers are setting themselves up for an average £5,750 in repair bills on their new home due to hidden problems such as rot and subsidence.

It’s really important to get independent, expert advice, said Mark Davis, a RICS surveyor and valuer and director of Trinity Rose in Basingstoke Road, Kings Worthy.

Mr Davis said: “A lot of the issues are to do with the roof, gutters and chimney stacks. A leaking roof or blocked gutters can lead to damp-related problems, including rot.”

It’s important to use a qualified surveyor. It may also be a good idea to go for someone local as they will be familiar with the area and typical property problems.

It is usually cheaper and quicker to deal directly with a surveyor rather than arrange through a mortgage lender or estate agent. A full building survey, can cost upto £1,000. But by shopping around on price comparison websites, such as www.localsurveyorsdirect.co.uk, you can cut the cost to £400-£500.

A full building survey is recommended for older properties and those in need of renovation. The briefer homebuyer report, at between £300 and £500, is most suitable for newer homes.

A survey will investigate cracked walls, subsidence, condition of services such as electrics, plumbing, boiler and identify other issues such as rising damp and rotting timbers.

The money spent on a survey could save thousands by providing a tool to negotiate a price reduction or by making purchasers think twice before buying.

That was the experience of business analyst Gary Bigden, 56, who commissioned a homebuyer’s report, costing £450, before buying a flat.

It revealed problems with damp and subsidence. “I pulled out. Their advice saved me thousands of pounds.”

However many buyers rely only on the mortgage provider’s valuation even though it doesn’t include a survey. They are carried out on the mortgage lender’s behalf to ensure the property is worth the agreed price.

A surveyor, on the other hand, acts in the buyer’s interest and will inspect the property from top to bottom and offer impartial advice.

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Highlighting the importance of a house survey

Not having a house survey can be a false economy! Some families have historically shunned full building surveys so they can raise enough cash to buy a home.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) warns that they risk huge repair costs after finding nasty surprises later. One in five of those who did not bother with a survey later uncovered faults, according to research involving more than 1,000 buyers conducted by ComRes for RICS.

Remedial work cost £5,750 on average. RICS said 17% of new owners ended up paying more than £12,000 to make their homes habitable.

A full building survey costs as much as £1500 Even the briefer homebuyer report, at up to £750 should pick up serious problems. But many buyers simply rely on only a mortgage provider's valuation. Estate agents say it is a growing problem, the result of family budgets coming under pressure.

Valuations do not include a full inspection. In fact, some are done from a desk miles away or after a drive past the property. A third of the sample of buyers questioned by ComRes had failed to commission a survey. Of those, nearly 20% found faults in their new property.

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First time buyers have helped to boost property growth in the UK over the summer months, according to surveyors.

The total number of valuations carried out in July 2014 was 14% higher than in July 2013, according to a monthly report. This is despite a seasonal slowdown of 21% compared to June and in line with an average 22% dip between each June and July since 2007.

Annual increases are led by first time buyer activity which is up 23% since July 2013, and with first time buyers showing the smallest seasonal drop off, at 17% from June to July.

A motoring economy is bringing with it renewed consumer confidence and emphasis on first time buyers from lenders, partly due to government schemes, and it appears to be getting people on to the property ladder!

There will be more clarification to come on the long term impact of various potential speed bumps, but the limiter could be interest rate rises or the fundamental squeeze on affordability for many would be buyers. With consistent double digit annual growth in activity, there is now a growing sense that the housing market is running more smoothly.

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Beware the hidden problems, warns Winchester property surveyor Trinity Rose

WHEN buying a property, it’s easy to be impressed by shiny new kitchens and bathrooms - and fail to spot the leaky roof or broken boiler.

Research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has revealed many buyers are setting themselves up for an average £5,750 in repair bills on their new home due to hidden problems such as rot and subsidence.

It’s really important to get independent, expert advice, said Mark Davis, a RICS surveyor and valuer and director of Trinity Rose in Basingstoke Road, Kings Worthy.

Mr Davis said: “A lot of the issues are to do with the roof, gutters and chimney stacks. A leaking roof or blocked gutters can lead to damp-related problems, including rot.”

It’s important to use a qualified surveyor. It may also be a good idea to go for someone local as they will be familiar with the area and typical property problems.

More...