Should I have a HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey on a property in Cheltenham, and which one would be cheaper?
The RICS advises that the HomeBuyer Report should be adopted for what is described as “conventional properties in reasonable condition”. Specifically, this means:
- properties built less than 50 years ago (including new-builds, which are just as susceptible to minor issues as an established home)
- properties with no significant change made to them in recent years
- properties with no plans for significant change in the next few years
- properties of a standard construction (i.e. not of an unusual construction or built with non-standard materials)
Conversely, the RICS recommends that the Building Survey is most suitable for:
- Listed buildings and some properties in conservation areas
- Properties that were built more than 50 years ago
- Properties that you want to extend, change significantly, or update in an integral way
- Buildings that have been recently subjected to such change
- Properties of an unusual construction, or built with unusual materials, irrespective of their age
If in doubt, you can get an instant Cheltenham home survey quote from Surveyor Local (simply complete a few details in the form at the top of this page), or, if you prefer, you can call us 0800 038 6667 to speak to a member of our team.
We are buying an old gatehouse in Cheltenham. Will the age of the residence be a concern?
There are many buyers who would really love to own an old, characterful home purely because of that character and the romanticism of its charm and appeal, particularly if it’s coupled with a great location.
With such a dream, though, comes the consideration of the construction and what it means in terms of ongoing maintenance and remedying any existing problems as part of its purchase. This is because such properties are likely to have been built employing the older construction methods and materials, and this might occasionally give buyers second thoughts as a result of the stress and worry about its upkeep.
The obvious traditional (or ‘vernacular’) techniques in the construction include cob (a mixture of clay soil, straw, and sand), wattle and daub (limestone and horse-hair), straw bales, timber beams for wall construction, thatched roofs, adobe, and hemp, all of which can be very challenging to maintain.
You should be aware that expert knowledge may also be needed before buying so that the condition of the materials and structure can be fully checked out and estimates provided for any remedial work. In addition, certain materials suitable for the work may be required to be sourced, particularly if the building is listed or is in a conservation area, which might be expensive.
Looking for a cheap survey alternative without compromising on the quality of service? Then Surveyor Local is your best option, because we provide a great service from one of the best chartered surveyors available at a competitive price. Get your instant quote by filling in the form at the top of this page and, when you’re ready to set up an appointment, call our waiting advisers on 0800 038 6667.
What should I be worried about when buying a property close to Brook Villa Farm Landfill Site on Sandy Pluck Lane, and landfill sites generally?
Sites used for landfill come in many shapes and sizes e.g. inert refuse, such as the one at Brook Villa Farm. A huge number of sites affect many thousands of people in England and Wales, including Cheltenham. Risks from them include chemicals like dioxins in the subsoil, water table, or atmosphere. Potential health concerns, such as spina bifida, have been associated with landfill sites.
Where there is cause for concern, or if there appears to contamination that is attributable directly to such sites, your surveyor will note this in the report and highlight the severity for remedial action, often placing it in the section for consideration by your conveyancing solicitor to look into with the appropriate authorities. Your lawyer will also carry out environmental searches of the Landmark datasets, in addition to the Cheltenham Local Authority, and give you the results of the search findings in the report on title.
Your Surveyor Local surveyor will have a deep knowledge of the local area and will therefore be aware of where landfill sites have been closed and built over. In some instances, movement in what has been buried may be a cause or start of subsidence, and they will be able to advise accordingly.
An interactive map of the location of UK’s current operational landfill sites can be found online, such as this one by Anyjunk.
All of the chartered surveyors who work with Surveyor Local have a great deal of local knowledge and surveying experience, including looking for issues connected to landfill sites. So, with our great service and competitive charges, Surveyor Local really is your best choice. Call us now on 0890 038 6667 to get your survey moving forwards today.
Are there any things I should be conscious of when buying an extended house in Cheltenham inside a conservation area, particularly with respect to house prices?
According to the Historic England website (retrieved on 30 January 2019), conservation areas are typically so designated for these types of locations (not intended to be an exhaustive list):
- centres of historic villages, towns and cities
- fishing and mining villages
- 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century suburbs
- model housing estates up to the late 20th century
- country houses set in their historic parks
- historic transport links (sections of canals, railways, and airfields)
- industrial heritage sites
Historic England also reviews and assesses the state of the conservation areas on an annual basis, creating the Heritage at Risk register, which can be viewed online to assess whether the council’s management plan is effective, and what is happening to remove the conservation area if it appears on the register. In 2018, 502 conservation areas (of around 10,000) were added to the list.
Conservation areas, by their nature of being protected from significant change and managing conformity, are an attractive location in which to buy a house, but the owner should be aware of their responsibilities and, before buying a house, being aware of any changes that don’t have planning consent since this may require expense to reverse them. This information is highlighted in the survey and will also be directed to your legal representative for further investigation and analysis with the local council. The responsibilities incumbent upon any owner underlines the importance of appointing a focused and thorough surveyor like those we have at Surveyor Local.
This also means that houses in designated conservation areas naturally come at a premium, so potential buyers should be aware that properties will likely be more expensive than similar homes located outside the boundary of the conservation area.
Ready to be assigned a great chartered surveyor with Surveyor Local? Call us now on 0800 038 6667 and our friendly advisers will get you started.
There is a semi-detached house in the GL53 postcode area priced at £325,000. What things does a surveyor consider when calculating house prices in Cheltenham?
A qualified RICS surveyor will go to the property as well as considering the wealth of area knowledge and factors that have a bearing on the value of property. There are a huge number of issues that could affect house prices (for example, the quality of nearby schools, or whether the garden is overlooked). It can help to benchmark selling-prices recorded for similar properties in Cheltenham.
This means the average price of completed transactions for semi-detached houses in Cheltenham in December 2018 was £316,859, which is £8,141 less than the asking price for the cited property. With regards to other types of property, the averages for the same month in Cheltenham were:
Information © 2019 HM Land Registry. Retrieved from HM Land Registry website on 26 February 2019
An impartial way to get a formal house valuation is with a HomeBuyer Report, which includes a Property Valuation Report (PVR) as a core component. A qualified RICS surveyor will be part of the Valuer Registration Scheme, which reinforces professional standards.
If you need further guidance, why not try our instant Cheltenham home survey quote generator (scroll to the top of the page and fill in a few pieces of information) or call our team on 0800 038 6667?
Will the qualified RICS surveyor inspect the condition and safety of the gas heaters in the Cheltenham bungalow?
Everyone is aware that the volatility and the highly inflammable nature of natural gas make it a very dangerous substance if not regulated and checked by qualified experts. It is also for this reason that, where there is a gas supply to a property, your chartered surveyor will inspect the system.
All work on gas appliances and connection to the mains must comply with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, while any new heat-producing gas appliance installed (e.g. a cooker hob, or gas fire) requires the Local Authority to be informed so that it will comply with building regulations in order to gain the requisite approval.
A certificate of works will be provided by a qualified Gas Safe engineer, and this will be sought and checked for validity and status by the surveyor during the inspection. Regulations legally require landlords to complete appliance and installation inspections annually. Non-compliance penalties include heavy fines and possible criminal records.
As part of the survey, the chartered surveyor will visually check all the accessible parts of the gas system, such as the meter location and position and any gas-connected fixtures like chimney breasts or flues. However, if there are any fittings, they won't be dislodged for inspection, and neither will they remove covers or piping since they are not qualified to do so.
Where the surveyor identifies any area for potential concern, they will note this in the survey report, with recommendations for any remedial action to be taken, alongside a measure of severity. Where a problem is deemed critical, if only for a qualified engineer to check and assess the situation, any significant cost can be used to open up conversations with the seller about the possibility of offsetting such a cost by reducing the asking price.
Gas is potentially hazardous and, should you have any concerns about it, call a Gas Safe engineer. If you smell gas, call the free national Gas Emergency Services number immediately on 0800 111 999.
Local highly-rated Gas Safe engineers in the area can be identified or located at the official Gas Safe Register site.
Get your instant quote with Surveyor Local now (scroll to the top of this page where you’ll find a simple form to fill in) and, if you want to line up one of the best chartered surveyors for your property, call us now on 0800 038 6667 to get your survey under way today.
We want to put in an offer on a place in Cheltenham. Are there any brick-wall repair tips we should be aware of?
Brick has become the most conventional construction product and, as such, there are several designs and methods of bricklaying that have been used in Cheltenham and across the county of Gloucestershire (for example, sailor bond or English bond), all of which can be seen in the houses along many of the streets.
Brick homes in Cheltenham will be subject to both minor and serious issues. This could be anything from horizontal cracking, and damp-proof course failure to rapidly-deteriorating cement mortar, caused by sulphate attack. This may require outright demolition of the wall, if discovered and may require immediate attention. The consequences of amateur repairs can either worsen the problem, or create entirely new defects in a brick wall, and professional advice can reduce the risk of this.
Local reputable builders, who would be able to provide quotes, include:
- SMC Group (Building & Maintenance), 99 Clyde Crescent, Cheltenham, GL52 5QJ (Tel: 01242 701980)
- Newman Construction, 352 Swindon Road, Cheltenham, GL51 9JZ (Tel: 07876 680511)
Call Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667 to talk through your survey concerns, and to receive your free Cheltenham house survey quote. You can also get a quote by completing the form at the top of this page.
Is heavy rain an issue in Cheltenham?
Both in Cheltenham, and throughout the county, rain is so common that buyers rarely think about it. Unfortunately, rainfall and the effect it can have on a residence are not considered properly when it comes to putting in an offer on a house. Signs that downspouts are blocked include spalling (flaking) masonry. Blocked rainwater goods can result in fungi or mould, which can, in turn, be a health-risk to the residents.
Whether buying in Cheltenham or elsewhere, having difficulties with downspouts does not necessarily mean that you need to pull out of the purchase. Such matters are often simple to fix if dealt with quickly. If left untreated, however, the damage will impact both the home's value, and the residents' enjoyment of the property.
The Environment Agency has estimated that around 1 in every 6 homes around the country is at risk from some sort of flooding, with more than half of those susceptible from surface water alone. The risk of floods needs to be taken seriously, since ingress of water to a property can threaten safety as well as causing major damage and disruption in the aftermath. It also has an impact on the property’s value and its insurability and the premiums that will be required to be paid. So, it makes sense to get your survey carried out by an experienced firm like Surveyor Local.
Worried about your survey? Why not call Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667 for a chat about your concerns and plans? Get your instant Cheltenham home survey quote by filling in the form at the top of this page.