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Red Flags when viewing properties

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1. Swimming pool – surprisingly it is not always a sought after addition or luxury. Many buyers will actively turn away from homes with pools due to safety reasons and importantly the maintenance costs involved.  Swimming pools take a lot of time in terms of constant upkeep and many clients prefer to prioritise garden space. Cost to fill in a pool is almost the same as putting in a pool – £10-£15,000

2. Sloping gardens – this is often a complete deal breaker. For families with children the need for a level area to kick a football, put up a trampoline or play equipment means that sloping gardens are a complete no-no. Much can be done to make positive features of sloping gardens and retaining walls can be dug to level off certain parts of the garden to allow for a patio for example.  However the cost however of a retaining wall is high and requires specialist builders with structural knowledge.

3. Airplane noise – often overlooked when viewing homes this can be something that will have buyers turning tail quickly. Do your homework: research the local flight paths and flight frequency, find out if air traffic will increase in summer months due to charter flights, is the airport capacity due to expand or under review and at what times of day is there greater flight traffic?  Whilst you can double or triple glaze windows and add leafy foliage to help absorb some of the noise this drawback is most certainly down to the individual.  You can be protected to some degree whilst inside the property but if you are keen to spend time in your garden then no measures can be taken to combat this red flag.

4. Asbestos – flagged up in surveys asbestos is often found in garages and outbuildings and this is an issue that will stop buyers in their tracks, indeed just the word asbestos instils fear. The reality is that this can be easily rectified by specialist companies quickly and efficiently. Estimated cost is not prohibitive.

5. Cracks – assess the size, depth and prevalence of the cracks to ascertain the severity as well as finding out the age of the property and the geological make up of soil in that area.  For example is the house in a well-known clay based area?  The main cause of subsidence movement in the UK is the influence of tree roots in clay soil and over 60% of all subsidence claims are triggered by trees. Do your homework. Underpinning is an option but an expensive one.

6. Damp – look for water marks and any damp patches in skirting boards which would indicate rising damp. Damp meter readings can be taken and the severity assessed. The solution would be to install a damp course which usually comes with a 30 year guarantee. Cost: it can cost thousands to put in a damp course and then there is the additional cost for re-plastering and redecoration once the walls have dried out so this also needs to be factored in.

7. Roof issues – look at the roof closely – are there missing tiles or does it look bowed in parts? Go into the loft and look at it from there.  A survey will highlight the extent of any damage. Cost: although a new roof is an expensive it is also an investment in the house and will help with resale.

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Sharon Hewitt

Sharon Hewitt

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