We knew the house needed a lot of work but before we could seriously make the decision to buy, we needed to know exactly what was going on with the property. As the house belonged to someone we knew we were in a unique position, which allowed us to gain access and carry out the survey before making an offer.
We shopped around locally, looking for building surveyors offering a full building survey. Prices varied considerably, with some quotes coming in over £1000. We found a Brighton based family run firm, Leo Horsfield Surveying (www.leohorsfieldsurveying.co.uk), who looked good and charged a very reasonable £660.
When Simon came to carry out the survey I asked him to leave nothing unturned, I wanted to know the worst-case scenario in relation to every aspect of the house.
In a nutshell the main issues are:
- Asbestos covering every ceiling in every room of the house
- Blown render all over the house, especially at the rear
- Corroded guttering and soil pipes that currently let all water run down the walls (over the blown render)
- Wet rot at the front and back of the property on the ground floor
- Cracks in the chimney breast
- Old and rotten or old and poorly fitted windows throughout
- Crumbling lathe and plaster walls throughout the house
- Large non-native palm trees in the small back garden
On the traffic light system adopted for buildings surveys, red represents in need of immediate repair or replacement, amber: repairs or replacement within the next 2-5 years and green: in good condition. The house received 14 red scores and eight amber. No greens.
Not including our loft conversion plans, it was estimated house needs around £100,000 worth of work to make it good.
Based on these findings, the surveyor made a calculated valuation, also factoring in local house prices. This helped us negotiate a really good price. Yes – call us mad – we still went for it.