How will we know what effect damp weather may have on our new property in Exeter? Where there is necessary work, what should we do?
Regular rainfall is common in Exeter as it is across the rest of the country, but the impact wet weather can have on Exeter homes is rarely considered properly by purchasers, which is confusing given that the weather is a common choice of conversation for the majority of Britons.
The Environment Agency estimates that 1 in 6 properties are at risk from some kind of flooding, with at least half of those being susceptible to problems caused by surface water. Signs that drains are blocked include water pooling below gutters, or water gushing from the roof during rainfall. This can lead to damage to foundations and expensive remedial work. If at all practical, it might be worth organising a visit to your chosen property on both dry and wet days to see if there is anything worthy of note with how the rainfall is managed.
Fortunately, drainage problems are usually easy to repair, if they are identified early. However, if the drains are poorly maintained, the resulting damage can lower the value of the property and become increasing harder to repair.
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A local builder has said subsidence may be an issue in the maisonette in Exeter. What can be done to resolve it if subsidence is found during the house survey?
Subsidence is the movement of the foundations of a home which then compromises its structural integrity. Most homes experience some minor cracking in the walls, which will not affect the building's structure, which is especially the case for new homes, or where there have been recent extensions or major alterations. Where the home is of very recent construction, the builder will usually return to a new home after time has passed to make good any settlement cracks.
Cracks that appear suddenly may suggest movement and subsidence. Inside the property, keep an eye out for sticking doors or windows, or cracks appearing around the frames.
Identifying the cause of subsidence is the first step to establishing its solution. Removing or even pruning any trees causing subsidence may be enough to halt any further movement. Trees and large shrubs must be well-managed, and new trees should be planted at a safe distance from the exterior walls of the property. Beech and sycamores, for example, should be planted at least 15m from a property. Chartered surveyors should be able to identify a subsidence problem, while structural engineers may also be required to confirm the seriousness of the issue.
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There is a terraced house in the EX4 postcode area priced at £247,000. What things does a surveyor consider when calculating house prices in Exeter?
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 Exeter.
This means the average price of completed transactions for terraced houses in Exeter in December 2018 was £238,128, which is £8,872 less than the asking price for the cited property. With regards to other types of property, the averages for the same month in Exeter 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 RICS Level 2 Survey, 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 Exeter home survey quote generator (scroll to the top of the page and fill in a few pieces of information) or call our team on 08000327649.
Do I need to opt for the more comprehensive RICS Level 3 Survey prior to acquiring a derelict, eighties, converted flat in Exeter?
The RICS advises that the RICS Level 2 Survey 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)
Be aware that some limitations come with any survey, because a qualified RICS surveyor will not be able to open up the fabric of the building, or comment on the efficiency of gas installations. Furthermore, flats involve shared parts of the building that cannot always be accessed, so the surveyor can only give details on the area within the identifiable boundary of the flat.
You should choose the RICS Level 3 Survey for any property that comes under these descriptions (such as the Exeter home mentioned in the question):
- 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 a more detailed breakdown of RICS Level 3 Survey and RICS Level 2 Surveys click on Survey comparison table.
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Do stone-walled homes in Exeter create maintenance problems for residents? Which major issues should we consider?
Because of Britain’s rich geology, stone has been used for centuries as an accessible building material. From Portland Roach Limestone to Plumpton Red Lazonby Sandstone, there are many types of stone used in the construction of homes in this country.
Defects affecting stone-built buildings can vary, with mould being relatively common. Irregular stone walls are found throughout the county, and can require more care and attention than regular, brick-like, stone walls due to the greater impact the weather can have on exposed mortar. Ashlar courses are often used to finish more irregular stone walls, with a brick or rubble wall beneath. This can give rise to maintenance issues if either element of the wall has been treated with a non-breathable material.
Repair advice often includes repointing of loose or crumbling mortar. If you are planning to renovate the wall, consider that stone-matching services are available, which may be necessary for any work carried out at listed buildings, and possibly in some conservation areas. Locally-mined or -quarried stone may also be available.
Concerned about the survey and what it might reveal about your planned new home? Call Surveyor Local’s waiting advisers on 08000327649 to discuss your worries and to get your survey moving.
We are buying a 17th-Century converted stable in Exeter. What should be budgeted for repairs?
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.
For more advice and to get one of the best chartered surveyors assigned to your task, call Surveyor Local’s team of friendly advisers on 08000327649 today.
What should I be aware of when buying a home next to a waste site in Exeter, and landfill sites generally?
A ‘landfill site’ is the generic term given for specialist locations licensed by the government (and the Environment Agency) for any material that won’t be recycled or reused to be dumped, buried or collected in one place. Because of the shortage of new locations for landfill, and the reduction in available space at existing ones, this explains the drive for better recycling options.
However, be aware that recycling areas can present as much of a hazard as the familiar dumping sites, with noxious chemicals spilling into the environment, either in the ground, through the water-table, the drains or airborne, especially where waste is burnt.
Whether it’s a local authority tip, a recycling centre, or a true landfill site, no-one would willingly wish to live in close proximity to one (although the large majority of the British population do). For this reason, it makes complete sense for your surveyor to check out the environmental and structural impact of such necessary waste management sites on the property you are wishing to buy in Exeter, not only from the environmental side of things but also from the traffic passing in and out of the site and how the vibrations might be impacting the foundations and the environs.
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 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. Your conveyancing solicitor will conduct environmental searches of the British Geological database and the Exeter Local Authority and advise you of the position in the report on title.
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Is there anything we should consider if we are planning to buy a building in Exeter near St. David’s conservation area?
There are over 10,500 official conservation areas in the UK, which are overseen and administered by the local authorities, and St. David’s is administered by Exeter City Council at Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter, EX1 1JJ (Tel: 01392 277888).
Surveyors in Exeter need to possess sufficient knowledge regarding the relevant local issues and the effect they have with your home. The price of property tends to be higher than non-conservation-area equivalents due to them being preserved.
RICS surveyors will advise if the house is possibly in a conservation area and Section I of the Exeter RICS Level 2 Survey (Issues for Your Legal Advisers) will advise of any further investigations to be carried out by your solicitor. Unapproved adjustments that do not have Local Authority approval may be reported in the Exeter survey, but these should be investigated by your conveyancer.
As of 26 February 2019, St. David’s is not on English Heritage’s At Risk register, although you can regularly check any conservation area and its assessed state by clicking on the register here.
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