If you're thinking about investing in a period home, you need to look past its aesthetic appeal and olde worlde vibe and will need to see exactly what you're about to purchase. To help you decide, you need to bring in a building surveyor, but what checks will they perform, and how far will they probe?
You'll be pleased to hear that an experienced building surveyor will not only have a very detailed form to complete, but they will have gained a lot of knowledge from the past. This will allow them to zero in on typical problems associated with a property of this era. It'll also mean that sentiment will not get in the way, and they will tell you everything that you need to know about the house before you make the big decision.
To start, they will look at the land and surrounding area and may spot some issues you overlooked. They'll pinpoint any potential problems with the boundary, let you know if there are any major utility works nearby, and notify you if you have protected trees on your property.
As far as the structure itself, a surveyor will want to know the entire history of the building. When was it actually built, and has it been extended at all? Are there any records of renovation, and if so, was the work completed in line with the relevant building regulations? This broad research may give them a good indication of what they are likely to find when they begin to probe inside.
Next, they will move on to the overall structure. Are the load-bearing walls in good condition, or is there any evidence of subsidence? What's the condition of the walls beneath any pointing or plasterwork? Is there evidence of water penetration or rising dampness?
Houses of a certain age may well hide asbestos as it used to be a common building material before it was outlawed. If the inspector suspects that asbestos may be present, they may need to bring in an expert to confirm one way or the other.
If the home has a basement or attic space, this is a good place to gather intelligence. These areas are typically unmodified in an un-renovated older home and could be a window to the property's general condition. They need to look for damp infiltration and timber problems associated with termites or other pests.
Once the inspector has finished with the structural assessment, they will check the central heating or air conditioning systems and the electrical installation. They'll conduct a visual inspection of the plumbing works to let you know whether these parts of the infrastructure are serviceable.
Peace of Mind
Once finished, you'll get a comprehensive survey that will provide you with a full report. Armed with this information, you can make your decision in full confidence, so commission a building surveyor to help you today.