A review on buying a Victorian property as your first home

Independent Building Surveyors

When buying a Victorian property there are many things to consider. The Independent Building Surveyors at GEMSurveyors.co.uk can provide you with help and advice to make sure you are aware of any problems in the property.  We carry out building surveys, structural surveys, home buyers reports, independent valuations, property surveys, engineers reports, structural reports and defects reports so please call us on 01234 355 358 for a friendly chat.

Are you buying a Victorian property? Do you need a building survey carried out?

Our client was a first time buyer looking to buy a small Victorian property. We would always recommend having a Building Survey carried out as Victorian properties can have various problems that often stem from amendments and alterations that have been carried out over the years without any understanding or knowledge of how older properties work.

Location, location, location!

The location of this Victorian property was key to our client wanting to purchase it. It was in a residential area of similar and larger Victorian properties and was within walking distance of their place of work.

A little more information about the property

The property was a small mid terrace house.  It had the bonus of having its own rear garden with the front sitting directly onto the street, which is not ideal but it is quite common with this type of property. Parking was also a bit of an issue as it is on a first come first serve basis with a permit system in operation.

Problems that our building survey identified with the property

The slate roof

The main problem that we found in the property was with the slate roof. Although a room had been formed in the roof making it hard to inspect the construction we managed to expose a small section. We were surprised to find that there was no protective underlayer in the roof but instead we found black bin liners had been used to protect it from rainwater getting in. This is obviously not a good idea for two reasons.

  1. It is not water tight and so if wind driven rain gets into the roof through the slates it could eventually damage the rafter feet.

2. Black bin liners are not breathable and so could create condensation in the roof space.

We advised our client that the roof would ultimately need replacing which would be a major expense.

Dampness at ground level

We also found that the property had a combination of rising damp and lateral damp due to the high ground level. The inside floor was more or less at the same level as the outside ground and dampness was getting in.

French Drain

We recommended to our client that the ground level would need to be lowered and that adding a French Drain would help to resolve the dampness issues in the property.

A French Drain involves a trench being dug around the property with a perforated pipe fitted underneath a layer of pea shingle that then feeds into the drainage system taking away any rainwater close to the property.

 Meeting the surveyor at the property

We always enjoy meeting our clients at the survey whenever possible as we are able to talk about their requirements and any plans they may have to alter and amend the property and also to advise on how to solve any problems that we come across. In this case we are pleased to say that the client did manage to meet us at the property.

Independent Building Surveyors

We are experienced independent building Surveyors who are knowledgeable in carrying out structural surveys on all types, styles and eras of buildings. If you are looking to buy your first property it makes sense to have a building survey carried out by an Independent Surveyor. Phone us for a friendly chat on 01234 355 358.