What should I be aware of when buying a maisonette in mid-Wales next to landfill sites or recycling centres?
Sites operated for landfill or managing waste are used for a variety of purposes (e.g. non-hazardous waste disposal, or industrial chemical reclamation). A huge number of sites affect hundreds of thousands of people in England and Wales, and that includes Wales. Worries might include bacterial decomposition resulting in methane being released into the environment.
Surveyors will examine any structural issues at your property that are directly linked to the landfill. Your conveyancer will conduct environmental searches of the Environmental Agency database and the local council, informing you if the search uncovers a local landfill site in the report on title.
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Are there any problems with buying a converted flat in Wales if it’s near a conservation area, particularly in relation to house prices?
There are nearly 10,000 designated conservation areas throughout the England and Wales that are designated and monitored by local councils. Your surveyor needs to have sufficient knowledge of local issues and any relation these may have with the building you are considering buying. Values are, more often than not, greater in a conservation area owing to them being their original state.
Surveyors will report if the property looks to be in such a designated location, and Section I of a RICS Level 2 Survey (Issues for Your Legal Advisers) will recommend further enquiries for your conveyancer to follow up. Out-of-keeping changes that do not have Local Authority approval will be noted, but these will be the concern of your legal representative.
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What sort of issues will the Wales Surveyor look for on a stipple-rendered, Victorian house in South Wales that I intend to purchase?
The stipple-render, or stucco, is in fact just a sort of flat render that is normally applied to red brick, hardening to form a smooth and even finish, and which might then be trowelled to resemble stone blocks. The effect is highly aesthetic and is common on some Victorian and Regency buildings.
Stucco, though, is often problematic and Wales surveyors focus on potentially expensive-to-remedy issues (for example, trapped water leading to the render failing, or where the render has been taken down to ground level and bypassed the damp-proof course). Fixing problems can be expensive as renderers are getting rarer.
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Will a surveyor advise on the safety of the gas flues in our Wales terraced house?
A surveyor will visually inspect any accessible parts of the gas system, which includes gas heaters (and also oil heaters), in addition to gas-related installations (e.g. chimney breasts). Any external fittings won't be removed or undone because of gas-safety protocols.
Most people are aware that gas is potentially fatal, and, should there be any worries relating to gas installations, you must call a gas engineer to inspect it.
- If you smell gas, you must call the National Grid emergency helpline on 0800 111999
Gas regulations stipulate that landlords are legally required to commission appliance and installation inspections every year, and punishments for failure to comply are severe, costly and criminal.
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If we are purchasing in Wales, what warnings would the surveyor give us for residences with rat-trap bond walls?
Brick-built houses have been a feature of construction in this country for hundreds of years, leading to a good selection of methods and styles. Welsh brick-walled residential properties can show signs of distinct issues, from damp-proof course failure through diagonal cracks to frost damage, which over time will cause bricks and mortar to disintegrate entirely. A reputable local builder should be able to assist and to provide you with a quote for any work, although it would be worth commissioning a number of them for comparison.
Consider the advice of both the surveyor and a builder or other specialist if any potential structural defects arise during the survey. For more advice and to organise one of the best chartered surveyors in the country, call Surveyor Local’s team of waiting advisers on 08000327649.
Is rain an issue in Wales?
It is quite curious that the effect that high levels of rainfall has on your property is not given enough thought, particularly as weather and rain are so common and a prime topic of conversation in Britain as to be verging on the stereotypical.
Many problems can exist if rainwater goods are not well-managed (for instance, damp stains around drainage may indicate that the downspouts are at risk, and blocked rainwater goods can result in lasting damage to the fabric of a home).
Fortunately, problems with drains are quite easy to resolve, if they are caught early. If not cleared out regularly, though, the resulting damage can lower the value of the property, and it will get increasingly difficult to successfully resolve.
Anxious to understand what state and condition your planned purchase is in? Call us at Surveyor Local on 08000327649 and our friendly advisers will take you through the process and assign a great surveyor to look over your property.
We saw evidence that the kitchen doorframe was skewed when we last viewed the property. What can be done to resolve subsidence if it is identified?
Subsidence is defined as the movement in a building's foundations that is likely to affect its structural integrity. In the majority of cases, though, subsidence can be set right without too much impact.
Cracks to a wall surface are an obvious clue of subsidence, but equally they may also be a harmless symptom of settling. Organic material in the subsoil can also create issues; for example, peat is usually stable if it is kept moist by the water level, but if the soil dries, this organic matter will decompose, causing the soil beneath and around the foundations to collapse.
The root cause of any subsidence must be found before repairs can commence, as the wrong solution may make the problem worse. Repairing leaking drains, water mains or broken downpipes, which are the cause of the subsidence, should be all that is needed to stabilise the home, with no underpinning required. In serious cases, however, underpinning may be necessary.
As an alternative to underpinning, piling, or mini-piling, uses concrete or steel poles that are driven down into more stable soil, to stop further movement. If the load-bearing parts of the property have been damaged, these may be repaired with steel rods, fixed into place with cement to restore the structural integrity of the building. A surveyor will be able to tell you if there is subsidence in your home or not, and what is causing it.
To get more advice as to what the survey can provide for you, contact 08000327649 to talk to one of our team of advisers at Surveyor Local.
There is a terraced house in central Wales priced at £123,000. What things does a surveyor consider when calculating house prices in Wales?
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 Wales.
This means the average price of completed transactions for terraced houses in Wales in June 2018 was £121,586, which is £1,414 less than the asking price for the cited property. With regards to other types of property, the averages for the same month in Wales were:
Information © 2018 HM Land Registry. Retrieved from HM Land Registry website on 29 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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