Downsizing your house and home a review on how Surveyors can help you
Independent Building Surveyors
If you are in the process of purchasing or selling a property whether you are downsizing or not Independent Building Surveyors can provide help and advice with regard to pre-sale building surveys, structural surveys, home buyers reports, independent valuations, property surveys, engineers reports, structural reports, specific defects report or any other property matters.
Why have an independent building survey?
Always have an independent building survey as this will highlight any property problems. Caveat emptor means buyer beware and is why you need to have a building survey to find out if there are any problems within the property; the estate agent certainly will not advise you of any. Remember the building Surveyor that you employ will be the only person working for you with your interests at heart.
Why were the couple selling their property?
As our lives change so do our living environments and when young with expanding families we often look to move to larger properties then as time goes by and the extra space is no longer required we frequently look to downsize. As Independent Chartered Surveyors we carry out structural surveys for many couples and individuals wishing to downsize and are available to help with this important move to a new home. Often this move will be the last property move whereby in the past the criteria was to be close to work, schools and family etc the location choice may be to be near to family or close to a chosen location such as a seaside town to enjoy retirement years.
Decision to Sell your current home?
Selling a property is a big decision and after living in the same house for many years the decision to move and downsize is a life changing one. Over the years we often tend to collect items and store them in cupboards, loft space and cellars these together with furniture will need to be sorted through which can be time consuming and furniture that will no longer be required or will be too big will need to be sold, given to family or friends or charity. When surveying properties we as independent Surveyors often find many stored items particularly in loft space which limits our view when carrying out full structural surveys hiding for example the common rafters which could have signs of dampness. We can find properties whereby the seller has piled boxes or placed furniture strategically to hide dampness in walls for example. Having an independent Surveyor carry out your property survey is so important when deciding to purchase a property or not as structural issues can be costly and be problematic.
Search for a smaller home
When downsizing as when moving at anytime in your life you will need to decide on the essential and desirable criteria of your new property. When a couple downsized recently their criteria was as follows:
- Semi-detached or detached bungalow as this is their retirement home being at low level will help with future maintenance of the property as well as helping should their mobility deteriorate in the future.
- A location close to their children and grandchildren in London with the Home Counties a preference such as Hertfordshire.
- Two bedrooms.
- A fair size garden but not too big.
- A garage
- Chain free would be ideal as this will make the move more straightforward and quicker.
- Three bedrooms with one with an en suite.
- PVC double glazed windows.
- Good internal decoration.
When properties have new double glazed windows we always recommend that they have trickle vents which help with air circulation in the property. Any transferable guarantees with double glazed windows should be gained from the owners as sealed double glazed units can fail; particularly as a result of poor workmanship during installation. Failure of the seal leads to condensation between the two panes of glass and simply replacing the affected units may not provide a satisfactory long-term solution. Generally it is considered that double glazed units have a life of about ten years.
To be able to move into a property with very little internal redecoration required would be a bonus but a need to be wary of properties where the current owner has ‘painted to sell' could be a way of them trying to hide latent defects. Another good reason why having an independent Surveyor carry out a residential building survey on your behalf prior to committing to purchase.
Bungalows are ideal
As independent Surveyors we have carried out many surveys on bungalows, which are very popular when couples or individuals decide to downsize. A property search for bungalow can take some time as with any property to find the ideal property which meets most of your essential criteria and if lucky some of your desirable criteria. A three bedroom 1930s semi-detached bungalow in Middlesex set in an area of similar properties as well as houses with the front garden given over to off road parking and in good internal decorative order after viewing was decided to be an ideal property to down size to. We were delighted to help with a full structural survey on the shortlisted property whereby the property in its entirety is scrutinised for any structural issues.
Cash property purchase
A cash purchase of a property is always a good situation to be in as this will help to speed up the process of purchasing a new home as you will not be dependent upon a mortgage lender. The decision is of course an important choice parting with your life savings for a dream property so a structural survey is essential to make sure that the property is structurally sound and there are no hidden property issues.
Buying properties near stamp duty levels
The bungalow was valued close to stamp duty level, which is often a tactic when selling a property to encourage a sale. We find that often prices are drawn to stamp duty level rather than being what the actual property is worth so to have an independent Surveyor help to make sure you are buying property for the right price rather than to the nearest stamp duty level is important.
The structural survey of the bungalow highlighted the property had issues with its roof which in the future would be costly. The roof was the original roof without a protective underlayer. Without a protective underlayer wind driven rain can get into the structure although the majority of the time this may not be an issue it is a concern. In the case of the bungalow there was some movement noted to the roof tiles which combined with the lack of protective underlayer will mean that dampness is an issue. Re-roofing is a costly expense and a reduction on the asking price was sought due to this issue along with other property issues.