How Can Damp Affect Buying or Selling a House?
5 March 2021
It’s often said that moving house can be one of the most stressful processes that a person can go through in their life. That doesn’t just mean the actual moving day either. Most will be aware that the time leading up to the actual sale or purchase of a house can be full of stress; searching, unplanned expenses, refurbishment – it can all add up when you are looking to buy or sell a home.
So, when it comes to the time to begin that property search, or put your home on the market, the last thing you need is for damp within your property to add onto your already stacked list of things to do.
So, if you were wondering how damp can potentially effect selling your house, or what to do if you find damp in a house you want to buy hopefully this article will give you a little more clarity on the options available to you, and how you should proceed.
How Can Damp Affect Selling Your Home?
The most vulnerable group of people to the dangers of damp and black mould within a property are its owners. This is true no matter what the time of year or situation which a property owner finds themselves in, but they are particularly vulnerable when selling their property.
The very first way in which damp can affect selling your home is when the prospective buyers walk in. This might seem obvious, but if someone looking to find their new home (or a potential investment to rent) walks into a property and is immediately met with the sight, smell or detrimental affects of damp, then they are going to be turned off from buying straight away.
Not only are you going to have a lost a potential buyer at this stage, but you will instantly have a reputation with the potential buyers, which can easily spread throughout their friends and to other potential buyers, turning a large portion of people off of your property.
It’s not just buyers either. Estate agents will recognise the fault in your property. The consequences of this? Well, first off the estate agent might find it more difficult to sell a home infested with damp, and as a result might be inclined spend less time on it.
In fact, you might find that the estate agent will try and push for a lower sale price if mould or damp is discovered in a property, as it will be easier to sell for a decreased price. In this situation it’s not just your reputation as a property owner that’s going to be damaged, but also the overall profit you could be making on the sale of your property.
You might even find that you are on the hook to pay for any repairs to the property before or after the sale, as the damp occurred in the house under your ownership.
This could see the price of a damp treatment being taken off the initial price of your home, leaving you more out of pocket than you would have been if you had gotten your damp problem seen to before putting your house on the market.
How Can Damp Affect Buying a Home?
When you are in the market for a new home, whether it be to rent or to live in, you are obviously going to be on the lookout for the property that gives you not only the perfect place to live, or for others to make home, but also what gives you the most for your money.
Obviously, if the home you go to view is riddled with obvious damp and mould then you are probably off to a very bad start and most likely will be put off buying the place entirely.
That’s because homes that do have frequent damp problems are going to be much more expensive to live in as the years go by. The cost of not only treating the damp and mould that will arise, but also of fixing the property itself so that these problems don’t resurface could push you over your initial budget, or even potentially sabotage the price of your property when it comes time to resell.
Sadly, discovering the mould before you sign on the dotted line is the best-case scenario. If you find yourself in a situation where on viewings you miss the damp in the structure, and your pre purchase survey doesn’t find anything either then you may well enter into a situation where you aren’t just buying a home off of the previous occupants, but the unresolved and undiscovered damp issues too.
This is a situation that all too many find themselves in, and only too late do they realise that they have a serious problem stemming from the damps affect on the property. This could be anything from minor repairs within the buildings wall all the way to entire building foundations needing replacement.
In this kind of situation, you (the new homeowners) will not be able to claim anything back from the previous owners, thanks to the problems being undiscovered at the time of purchase. As mentioned, you haven’t just bought the property, but also unwittingly inherited the problems.
The worst part about this situation isn’t that these repairs could be seriously out of your budget, but that they are entirely avoidable. What is the best way to avoid damp affecting a house sale then?
How to Avoid Damp Problems in Any House Sale
The very first thing that you need to understand about selling your home is that if there is a fault within the properties structure, you want to find it before any potential buyer does. Making sure that your home is free from damp, or the kind of structural faults that might allow for damp to seep into a property is going to be vital in presenting a future proof home that another owner would be willing to invest in.
Even if you are sat in the home you wish to sell and have never seen any visible signs of damp, there is still every chance that in less visible areas, your property has been compromised. Booking yourself a thorough damp and timber survey before you put your property on the market is a great first step in securing peace of mind.
A damp and timber survey is precisely as it sounds: a thorough examination of a property conducted by an expert, with the aim of highlighting and drawing attention to any potential faults stemming from damp, or rot within your property.
This survey will give you a clear and comprehensive view into whether your home has become a victim of damp, as well as the scope of the damage and a recommended best course of action to follow in order to have it removed and avoided in the future.
Remember, whilst this survey and any repairs may seem like a cost up front, you can always factor in these expenditures into the actual property value once it’s on the market. This way not only are you avoiding losing money on a potential sale, but you are also saving your reputation as a seller and safeguarding the health of the next homeowners against the growth and effects of black mould.
Essentially, a damp and timber survey helps any prospective seller factor in and control the cost of their damp control and solution before a prospective buyer finds it. That will be entirely possible too, prospective buyers are also encouraged and able to request these surveys be taken on a property before they purchase any building.
Potential owners, I’m sure, will already be aware of the importance of a property survey when it comes to investigating their investment. What they might not be aware of though is that certain factors, such as damp and timber rot, will only be able to be detected by specialists trained to do so.
So, if you are on the lookout for a new home, be sure to factor in a damp and timber survey alongside the regular property survey that is set to be conducted on any property you are considering buying.
Not only will this help you understand whether a property does in fact have a problem with damp, but you will also ascertain what kind of damp issue you are dealing with. There is a big difference between damp caused by condensation, and recurring damp, as one is caused by the inhabitants, and the other by natural means.
Basically, you will understand the scope of the work needed to remove or control the damp within the property, and how likely it is to resurface in the future. Not only that, but should you find the damp levels to be acceptable or treatable, you can always negotiate with the current owners to have the cost of repairs deducted from the asking price, helping you avoid any real loss of capital, and more importantly safeguarding you against future discoveries that could put you seriously out of pocket.
By now, hopefully you will understand not only the threat that the discover of damp poses to a house sale, but how it could affect both buyer and seller -and more importantly you know how to avoid falling victim to untreated damp during the purchasing or selling process.
You can read more about damp and timber surveys here, or give us a call on 0800 288 8660 to request your own damp and timber survey today.