Will the RICS Level 2 Survey look for indications of flood damage at the house in Sunderland?
The last few years have been among the wettest on record, and the indications suggest that major wet weather events are only going to get worse in the future. Both house-buyers and home-owners located in areas that are at risk of flooding are therefore right to be worried, particularly as the insurance companies react to the increased number and severity of claims by boosting the premiums.
The Environment Agency maintains a flood-alert service, with regular updated risk assessments, and details of local rivers and other bodies of water that are prone to flooding; however, it should be noted that proximity to water or being high above sea level is not a foregone guarantee that a property will not be flooded in the future.
Flooding can increase the likelihood of water entering a property in Sunderland, such as via air bricks, or poorly-fitted doors and windows. Less expensive preventative measures include air brick covers, while raising low ingress thresholds could be expensive.
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When we viewed the unmodernised property we expect to purchase in Sunderland, there appeared to be an overload of the fuse-box; will the surveyor report anything on the electrics?
During a Sunderland RICS Level 3 Survey, a qualified surveyor will provide details on the state of the electrics if it is obvious that they are in a dangerous state of repair. This will include a general examination of the exposed sections of the wiring and fuse-box, and other areas, such as checking the external or remote installations (e.g. water features, or lights and electric heating in any outbuildings).
Inspecting the documentation from the most recent Periodic Inspection Report (PIR) conducted by a suitably-qualified electrician on the property being surveyed will also be part of the RICS Level 2 Survey, and this should highlight the latest expert assessment of the entire electrical system.
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In the Sunderland RICS Level 2 Survey, what might a ‘Condition Rating 1’ mean for the section entitled 'E7 - Conservatory and porches'?
The RICS Level 2 Survey is intended to be an easy-to-read and -understand document that is divided into twelve sections covering all aspects of the property, inside and out. Section E covers the external parts of the house and is further subdivided into nine subsections, with the seventh one specifically looking at porches and conservatories.
The report has three condition ratings from one to three, which are also colour-coded with a traffic-light system (green to red, respectively). Obviously, green (condition rating 1) is the best possible assessment, and confirms that this part of the Sunderland house or flat is in a good state. Nevertheless, the surveyor may still recommend that regular upkeep is carried out.
Quite common examples of defects that appear in this section are missing or undersized landings, or inappropriate use of internal doors in doorways leading outside.
RICS Level 2 Survey are transparent, detailed surveys of residential property. As buyers in Sunderland are unlikely to be experts in local building techniques and materials themselves, the report is written with as little jargon as possible.
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We are buying a loft-conversion in Sunderland, so which issues relating to the roofing will be considered in the survey?
Questions about the roof are common concerns for buyers, because many residential properties might be exposed to difficulties with the roof, such as poor insulation or missing or loose tiles. From wind braces to dormer windows, every part of the roof will be assessed and reported by the surveyor, who could suggest that some of the faults must be dealt with immediately.
Given the high cost of major roof repairs, like insulating the attic, some homeowners may defer maintenance indefinitely, which makes both the cause and the consequences harder and even more expensive to treat when repairs do take place. Once the surveyor has delivered their report, consider arranging a quote from a local contractor for the job itself, which you can then use as a bargaining tool if necessary with your vendor prior to exchange of contracts.
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There is a terraced house in the SR1 postcode area priced at £99,000. What things does a surveyor consider when calculating house prices in Sunderland?
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 Sunderland.
This means the average price of completed transactions for terraced houses in Sunderland in June 2018 was £94,573, which is £4,427 less than the asking price for the cited property. With regards to other types of property, the averages for the same month in Sunderland were:
Information © 2018 HM Land Registry. Retrieved from HM Land Registry website on 24 August 2018
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.
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Do stone-walled properties in Sunderland create lots of maintenance costs for a new owner? What should we be particularly aware of?
Stone walls are often ignored by homebuyers due to their apparent strength and solidity; stone and rock always seem far sturdier than brick. Buyers should also be aware that the potential severity of issues, like delamination or erosion of the mortar, will vary with the particular type of stone that is used in construction.
Irregular stone often has a more rustic appearance, but the mortar used may be susceptible to a higher rate of decay. Advice for better upkeep will vary according to the needs of individual property, such as repointing mortar with a suitable material.
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I suspect there might be asbestos coatings sprayed on beams at the house in Sunderland. What are the issues with asbestos?
Asbestos is a deleterious, fibrous-structured mineral, and there are three main types that have been used in Britain: Blue, brown and white. Before its harmful effects on health were understood, it was considered to be a miracle material because of its high-tensile strength, its fire-retardant and sound-proofing qualities, and its resistance to chemical attack. Therefore, it found its way into a wide variety of construction goods, from downpipes to loft-lagging, from boiler-cupboard housing to paint.
All forms of asbestos are ultimately dangerous and may lead to lung cancer or pleural disease if there is prolonged exposure to it. However, in repudiation of the commonly-held misconception, inhaling just the one fibre is not fatal.
If asbestos is discovered, you must be careful never to displace or break it, and professional advice should be sought as soon as possible. Getting rid of asbestos will be unfortunately costly, but you should not be tempted to carry out the work yourself, because it absolutely must be completed by experts. Surveyors will not test for asbestos on a Sunderland RICS Level 2 Survey, but they will mention any suspected asbestos and will recommend professional testing.
For advice on what steps to take with suspected asbestos, Asbestos Removals Consultants Ltd., Suite 31, Pallion Shipyard, Pallion New Road, Sunderland, SR4 6WE (Tel: 0191 447 9419) may be able to help.
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What is subsidence, and what issues does the Property Surveyor investigate?
Subsidence is defined as the movement of the foundations of a home, which compromises its structural integrity. However, most homes will experience cracking at some stage and these could be benign. Where the home is of very recent construction, the builder will usually return to a new home after some months in order to make repairs.
Subsidence can result from several causes, some of them common throughout Sunderland. An example of groundwater subsidence, collapsed mains drainage pipes can create problems by washing away or loosening subsoil. Organic material in the subsoil, such as peat, can also generate issues; it is usually stable if it is kept moist by the water level, but, if the soil dries, this organic matter will decompose, causing the volume of soil to reduce so that foundations crush it from above.
Identifying what has caused the subsidence is a necessary first step in identifying the precise solution. It is vital to arrest any further movement, or even the risk of it. Underpinning could be the only option in some cases, unfortunately. If the surveyor cannot give you a conclusive diagnosis, they will recommend that you engage the services of a structural engineer.
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