Should we choose a HomeBuyer Report or a Building Survey for a home in Hemel Hempstead, and which one would be the cheapest?
On the RICS recommendation, you should choose the more comprehensive Building Survey for any property that falls into any of the following categories:
- 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
For anything else, it makes sense to go for the HomeBuyer Report, which is presented in an understandable way, written in plain English and easy to see at a glance the types of problems the chartered surveyor has found at the property.
For further advice, why not get a Hemel Hempstead survey quote by filling a few simple details in the form at the top of this page or call 0800 038 6667 to speak to Surveyor Local’s survey team?
When we viewed the period property we are hoping to lease in Hemel Hempstead, we saw that there was no residual current device (RCD) on the fuse-board; does a Hemel Hempstead HomeBuyer Report give details on the general state of the electrical system?
One of the principal areas that your chartered surveyor will look into when they’re inspecting the property you are considering buying is the electrics, reporting on any findings where they suspect any part of the system to be in hazardous condition.
For residential properties, the established regulations cover all wiring, the circuit-breakers, residual current devices (RCDs), sockets, and so on, while also focusing on special areas that might be exposed to excess moisture, such as bathrooms (e.g. heating or shaving sockets), swimming pools (internal or external), ponds, or portable outdoor equipment.
As part of the building regulations approval in an extension or new-build, or where the electrical circuits have been updated, an electrical certificate, signed off by a qualified electrician, needs to be supplied to comply with the requirements. This document will be sought and checked by your Surveyor Local surveyor.
In addition, the IEE (Institute of Electrical Engineers) recommends that a periodic inspection be completed every 10 years on private residential property, or every 5 years if you are renting out the property to tenants, or you own a commercial building. Again, your Surveyor Local chartered surveyor will identify the Periodic Inspection Review document’s existence and confirm its validity and status.
When preparing a Hemel Hempstead Building Survey, an RICS surveyor will inspect all accessible parts of the electrical system, noting the location and likely age of the fuse-board, and includes a visual assessment of the superficial parts of the wiring, without taking anything apart for safety reasons. In addition to verifying areas connected to the mains (e.g. the whereabouts of the meter or consumer unit), the surveyor will also choose a selection of sockets and light-switches to ensure they are operating normally.
In the survey report, the surveyor will highlight all of the findings, including identifying those areas that they are unable to access, which might need further investigation by a qualified electrician. Where there are areas of concern, particularly where the electrical circuits and wiring don’t conform to the British standard, the surveyor will recommend that immediate action be taken. It is wise to obtain a couple of quotes for any major rewiring activities, as this can be used to enter into renegotiations over the asking price with the seller.
Local highly-rated electricians in the area include:
- MK-Electron Electrical Services, 2 Hawthorn Lane, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 2PU (Tel: 07973 551031)
- RCD Ltd., 12 Mark Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 7BN (Tel: 0808 186 9960)
- A. P. Electrical, 145 Windmill Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 4BU (Tel: 07979 592926)
Want to be assigned to one of the best chartered surveyors available in Hemel Hempstead? Anxious to keep a check on the cost of your survey? Fill in a few details in the form at the top of this page to receive your instant and competitively-priced survey quote from Surveyor Local. When you’re ready to get an appointment in the diary, call our helpful advisers on 0800 038 6667.
Mould caused problems in our old property, and we are now very wary of potential roofing issues. What should we look for in our intended purchase in Hemel Hempstead?
Homes in the area with no other major problems will likely suffer issues with the roof like rotten beams, leaking flashings or cracked tiles. From roof battens to concrete tiles, all aspects of the roof will be inspected by your surveyor as part of the inspection for the survey. This might include looking at the roof through binoculars if it is inaccessible to reach or is unsafe to do so.
Flat roofs can also be a nuisance, caused by factors such as holes or cracks in the waterproof layer or being literally flat so rainwater collects on it. Your surveyor will test the angle of the pitch to ensure it conforms with the recommended 12-15 degrees.
Upkeep can be the cause of serious accidents, which is why modern contractors refuse to work without scaffolding. A builder with a good reference should be able to assist with a quote. Contact a reputable roofer such as:
- Marchant Roofing, 17 Someries Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 3PJ (Tel: 01442 257960)
- Excel Roofing, 25-27 St. John’s Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1QQ (Tel: 0800 955 6063)
The estate agent has mentioned subsidence being a problem that might impact the flat in Hemel Hempstead. How could this affect the property, and what subsidence-related defects will my property survey consider?
The definition of subsidence is the movement of a home’s foundations, but some degree of movement will always occur in any building. New properties, for example, will need to settle under the home's own weight. In the case of new-builds, the builder should return within a few months so that they can make minor repairs caused by the settlement.
Subsidence can be caused by a range of factors, such as the soil on ground that slopes downward, which is not as stable as that sitting on horizontal ground. In very wet or flooded conditions, the soil layer could then become unsteady and begin to slip down. A sudden change in the weather can also impact a house susceptible to further settlement, either as a result of poor construction, materials or existing damage.
The root cause of any subsidence must be found before repairs can commence. It has been estimated that around 70% of subsidence cases are caused by tree roots drawing moisture from the soil. Structural brickwork may need to be dismantled and rebuilt, or more cosmetic areas can effectively be repaired with resin-filling in the cracks. This can be time-consuming, expensive, and inconvenient. Unfortunately, even with professional help, a definite diagnosis can sometimes take months. A Hemel Hempstead surveyor can offer some advice and guidance if this is the case.
Although judicious pruning or even removal of an offending tree or other plants may solve the issue, it may also create other problems because the level of moisture will rise in the soil. For this reason, Surveyor Local recommends that you should contact a specialist to discuss the options and risks.
Get your instant Hemel Hempstead survey quote from Surveyor Local by filling in the form at the top of this page. Get an appointment with a brilliant chartered surveyor by calling our friendly advisers on 0800 038 6667.
Will our Hemel Hempstead property surveyor inquire into possible flood damage?
Soil-clogged drainage, rain and overflowing streams can cause water damage from flooding, and the value of a residential property in an at-risk area may be negatively impacted. A flood-warning service, with regular updates, is operated by the Environment Agency, which also publishes details of previous flood warnings. A property surveyor will advise on repairs or preventative measures that might be appropriate. The survey report will also include details of any evidence of historical flooding and may comment generally about the area's propensity to flood.
Because of the increasing likelihood of flooding in the UK and the problems it causes, it becomes an essential part of looking for a new home to establish its history with flooding and the risk to the local area. There are several steps that can be taken:
- use the Environment Agency’s flood information service for the current situation
- search for your location on the Environment Agency’s flood map for planning service to establish the level of risk of flooding (based on historical and geographical information)
- appoint a specialist search provider to identify the position in more detail (you can talk to your conveyancing solicitor about this option and costs)
- check with the sellers to confirm anecdotal evidence of prior flooding issues
- If practical to do so, it is also worth looking at the house in both wet and dry weather to see if there are any obvious differences.
Talk to our survey advisers on 0800 038 6667 to discuss your concerns and survey needs further, and to receive your free quote.
Will insects affect the purchase price of a home in Hemel Hempstead, and should we get a RICS surveyor?
The issue of pests in and around the home is often seen as a small or minor, even irrelevant, inconvenience or annoyance that simply needs to be accepted and managed. However, the threat of many pests is very real and, with certain examples, will have a risk to the occupants’ health or destroy the fabric and structure of a building.
In addition, evidence of an infestation of pests is not always easy to find. Some obvious examples of common pests include cockroaches, rodents, and woodworm.
Your chartered surveyor will look out for evidence of the common problems, such as droppings or holes in wood, and make recommendations based on the severity of the problem and how recent the infestation appears to be. Solutions and remedies to eradicate pests may include the use of poisons, insecticides and traps, but more humane ways of removing pests are available. It’s always worth obtaining a number of quotes from companies qualified to handle such issues so that you can request a reduction in the asking price from the seller.
Because there are so many different pests, the chartered surveyor will not be able to test and check for every single type other than the common instances. If you suspect that a specific issue with pests exists, then you should bring it to your surveyor’s attention and they will be able to focus on finding the particular evidence, should it exist.
Time to get your survey under way today! Call Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667 and one of our helpful advisers will be happy to assign you to one of the best surveyors in Hemel Hempstead.
I want to buy a semi-detached house in Hemel Hempstead (HP1 postcode area), and the vendor is asking £480,000. What will a Hemel Hempstead surveyor consider when carrying out a professional valuation?
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 Hemel Hempstead (in the Dacorum local authority area).
This means the average price of completed transactions for semi-detached houses in Hemel Hempstead in December 2018 was £462,948, which is £17,052 less than the asking price for the cited property. With regards to other types of property, the averages for the same month in Hemel Hempstead were:
Information © 2019 HM Land Registry. Retrieved from HM Land Registry website on 22 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 online instant 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?
The seller's agent said there could be loose asbestos ceiling material affecting the property. What is asbestos and does the survey look at this?
Asbestos is the general name given to fibrous, silicate materials that are now known to be harmful to organisms and has been mined for hundreds of years. It was only in the last century that it was found to be so detrimental to health, although it still took until 1999 for there to be an outright ban in the UK, as part of an EU-wide directive, even though restrictions were placed from 1985.
The most common type found in the UK is white asbestos (chrysotile), which was often used in roofs, floors, ceilings, walls and insulation, thereby appearing in all manner of construction materials. From 1986, it was only white asbestos that remained in use in the UK for construction purposes.
It was a popular construction material, because it was considered to be a ‘miracle’ material due to its resistance to fire and electricity, its tensile strength, and its sound-proofing qualities, coupled with its relative cheapness to produce.
During a survey, your chartered surveyor will not be able to confirm the existence of asbestos, since they will not investigate further than visual inspection because of the dangers highlighted above. However, they will be experienced in looking for it and will report their suspicions in the survey, recommending that it be checked out thoroughly.
Although you are legally allowed to removed asbestos yourself, this practice is thoroughly resisted by experts because of the danger that amateur removals may incur on yourself and your neighbours. Therefore, it is recommended that you appoint an expert to confirm its presence and to safely remove it. The register of expert contractors can be found here: the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association.
Worried about what your chartered surveyor may find during the inspection? Let Surveyor Local allay some of your concerns by talking to one of our friendly advisers on 0800 038 6667.