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Buying house - level 3 survey issues

Oliviab21
Oliviab21 Forumite Posts: 7
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Hi all, we've just had a level 3 survey done on the house were looking to buy. This is classed as 4 bed mid terrace (Edwardian), we went over asking by around 10%. It's quite a lot more expensive than other houses in the area but there isn't many houses to compare to as there's not alot coming up for sale over past year.
*EDIT*
The survey has flagged that the 4th bedroom, loft bedroom is not up to standards and the floor needs strengthening. He's classed this as a conversion, however we were always under impression it was thought to be original and it's been listed as a bedroom by EA.  Have found out today this was converted in 2003 and no building regs.

There's a cellar, this has multiple issues with damp etc.

Then around the whole house there are highish damp readings which need addressing, and no proof of damp course being done previously. He also flagged the ground level is too high at the back of house.

There is definitely damp around chimney breast areas due to chimneys not being capped so this is something to sort. However we're wondering how big the job will be to try and do damp proof course around the whole house. 

Getting cold feet now because of all of this, as it was not supposed to be a Reno and as I say high price in comparison to other sales around the area.

Any advice from your experiences? Thanks!

Comments

  • MultiFuelBurner
    MultiFuelBurner Forumite Posts: 1,202
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    I would suggest this is all within normal bounds for an Edwardian age house. 100+ years old
  • jlfrs01
    jlfrs01 Forumite Posts: 137
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    These surveys will list a dripping tap as an issue so can be taken with a pinch of salt, upto a point. I would seek to gain clarity on the readings from the Surveyor, clearly a house of that age is not going to be perfect but if damp is problematic then it would usually give rise to mould, etc. Just because there's damp doesn't mean it's a problem.
    I had a similar issue a few years ago when a survey threw up that several of the wooden-framed windows in a cottage I was buying were rotted and required replacement. I saw that as an issue for the vendor to resolve, they offered a price drop to cover the work done. In your shoes, if after speaking with the Surveyor there are definitely items that need sorting out, I'd take it up with your Estate Agent and Solicitor, why should you pay to have work done the vendors didn't, particularly when you're paying over the market price?
  • daveyjp
    daveyjp Forumite Posts: 12,064
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    edited 28 July at 9:38AM
    Cellars are often damp, not an issue if you can improve ventilation
    High soil levels can be sorted with a spade!
    Property may have a slate dpc you can't see.
    A new dpc probably won't stop the current damp issues which are more likely due to internal condensation as the property will be more airtight than when it was built and no longer has open fires etc.  Ventilation and heat can be more effective than unecessary dpc work.
  • gwynlas
    gwynlas Forumite Posts: 1,398
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    It should be obvious from your neighbours whether top floor is an original bedroom or later conversion, some origanal features might not meet current building regulations. You are aware of potential damp issues and it should be simple to lower level at back of house and clear all air bricks. Some cellars are dry and others suffer from water ingress at certain times due to ground water table. They can be tanked and sump drainage installed if neessary to make then useable accommodation space. You could request a small reduction as most offers are subject to survey but not the equivalent of your offer over asking.
  • Oliviab21
    Oliviab21 Forumite Posts: 7
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    gwynlas said:
    It should be obvious from your neighbours whether top floor is an original bedroom or later conversion, some origanal features might not meet current building regulations. You are aware of potential damp issues and it should be simple to lower level at back of house and clear all air bricks. Some cellars are dry and others suffer from water ingress at certain times due to ground water table. They can be tanked and sump drainage installed if neessary to make then useable accommodation space. You could request a small reduction as most offers are subject to survey but not the equivalent of your offer over asking.
    Hi @gwynlas thanks for the advice!

    all the houses in the row have loft bedrooms but all have velux windows so no original signs like an old window etc. Understand that an old conversion or if it was original it may not meet modern building regs. However he flagged particularly that the floor needs strengthening and it should not have weight on it. (They have beds, furniture, desks up there) 
  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Forumite Posts: 12,880
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    daveyjp said:
    Cellars are often damp, not an issue if you can improve ventilation
    High soil levels can be sorted with a spade!
    Property may have a slate dpc you can't see.
    A new dpc probably won't stop the current damp issues which are more likely due to internal condensation as the property will be more airtight than when it was built and no longer has open fires etc.  Ventilation and heat can be more effective than unecessary dpc work.
    A DPC might even be a strip of lead or dense engineering brick - The latter would be easy to spot if the ground levels are low enough.
    Just don't call in one of these "damp" treatment outfits - They will want to drill a load of holes along the base of the walls to inject their magical chemicals. Then they'll want to knock the plaster off the walls inside to a height of 1.2m and slap some waterproof render/plaster on. In the process, charging you an absolute fortune for work of dubious effectiveness. Whilst the work will hide any damp issues for a few years, it will pop up again with a vengeance a few years after the company has gone out of business (or morphed in to a new one). In the meantime, you have an ugly row of holes in the walls that advertise dodgy works, and a layer of cement on the inside that will be next to impossible to remove without causing further damage.
    If you do go ahead with this property, join one of the period property forums, read up about traditional materials & construction methods, and save yourself a serious chunk of money by not using questionable "cures" for problems that don't really exist - Yes, damp can de an issue, particularly in older properties, but it is usually easy enough to manage once the source of the problem has been eliminated.

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  • AlexMac
    AlexMac Forumite Posts: 2,884
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    Depends on your attitude to risk, and how long you plan to stay? 
    If forever, you might take the view that the damp is typical, may well be improved by heating and ventilation rather than controversial damp proofing (unless it needs a new roof) and that you’ll live with the under-spec loft room, keep the weight down and simply keep an eye out for settlement cracks (or evidence of recent cover up).
    However, if you plan to move on and sell after a few years, any prospective buyers will probably be deterred by the same doubts that you now express. 
    So, for starters, and as you love the house, it might be worth getting your own expert survey on the loft floor issue; plus some idea of cost to remedy?
    Then, if you want to haggle on price, you have the data. But be nice. When my wife sold her Edwardian House in the 1990’s, the buyer sent in a surveyor who we think was a mate, then tried it on for a £23k plus price cut. She was so p155ed that she wanted to tell them to go procreate. She was on the point of cancelling the sale.  I mediated and we settled for a cut of half that; then about 4% of the price. 

    Good luck
  • chanz4
    chanz4 Forumite Posts: 10,689
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    only thing that would concern me is if the loft does not have planning etc, also mortgage lender may down value
    Don't put your trust into an Experian score - it is not a number any bank will ever use & it is generally a waste of money to purchase it. They are also selling you insurance you dont need.
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