What You Should Do Before Buying a House With Damp?
10 August 2021
Buying a house is a happy but also stressful process and during the home buying survey, you may also find that the property is suffering from damp problems. Damp is not something you want to find when purchasing a property but there are varying degrees of how serious the damp problem can be.
If a damp issue has been flagged up during the homebuyer’s report as part of the home buying process it does not mean that you cannot buy the house anymore. It is ok to buy a house with damp.
However, upon purchasing the property, you should have the damp problem checked by a qualified surveyor. The surveyor can tell you what is causing the damp problem to occur and how much it is going to cost to get it fixed.
You should then speak to the seller, before you buy, to either get the damp issue fixed or agree on a reduction on the house buying price to cover the costs.
You can normally come to an agreement with the seller as depending on how much damage has been caused by the damp problem it can usually be rectified fairly quickly.
Should You Buy a House with Damp Problems?
So, is it worth buying a house with damp? Yes, it is, but you should only do this if the costs of the potential damp treatments are taken off the house purchase price or if the seller agrees to fix the problem before the house sale is completed.
Another issue you need to be aware of is that it isn’t just the cost of fixing the damp problem you need to take into consideration but also the time it would take the seller to fix the issue. If it is part of a property chain and time is of the essence then, our recommendation is to deduct the cost of the works from the price of the house to speed up the process.
Should You Worry If the House You Are Purchasing Has Condensation?
If the property you are looking to buy has a condensation issue, then this is not a big problem to worry about. Condensation problems are usually easy to fix, and the costs are not too expensive either.
What Causes Condensation and How Can It Be Fixed?
Condensation occurs when warm moisture laden air comes into contact with a cold surface such as a wall or window. Condensation is usually produced in areas of the house where there is the most humidity such as the bathroom, bedroom or kitchen.
Improving the ventilation in the property is the most efficient method of getting rid of condensation. Issues with ventilation can usually be resolved by installing extractor fans. So, if there is condensation at the property then improving ventilation through extractor fans would be one of the first things to look into adding.
If there is already black mould present at the property, then you will need to ask the seller to remove this as soon as possible. This can be achieved by using black mould treatment which is readily available online.
The House Has Penetrating Damp – Is It Worth Buying?
While penetrating damp is not something you want to see when you are looking to purchase a property, it is ok to buy a house that has a penetrating damp problem. You should though find out what is causing the problem as well as know what the costs are to fix it.
Once a penetrating damp issue has been identified. A PCA qualified damp surveyor will be able to correctly identify where the penetrating damp has originated from. They will then ask you to get in touch with a structural engineer to fix the associated problem. Penetrating damp problems can be caused by a variety of issues from leaking gutters to damaged roof coverings.
Once the costs to repair the defects have been outlined by the structural engineer, you can then negotiate a price with the property owner. You can then ask for the price of the house to be lowered according to the costs of the repairs or ask the owner to fix the issues themselves before purchasing the property.
Should I Still Purchase a House That Has Rising Damp?
Discovering rising damp at the property you are purchasing is a possible problem you should be aware of. You should have a professional damp surveyor carry out a survey at the house, just so that they can confirm to you if the damp problem is actually rising damp.
Rising damp and penetrating damp are often misdiagnosed with each other but one of the clear differences is that rising damp will leave a tide mark on the wall of up to 1 metre in height. On the other hand, penetrating damp can occur on any part of the wall.
The most common cause of rising damp is that the original damp proof course has broken down or that there was not one already in place. This may prove expensive to put right. As a result, the cause of the damp problem should be rectified prior to the purchase of the property.
Buying a House with a Basement That Has Damp
If you are looking to buy a house with a basement that has damp you will ideally need to know the costs of fixing the problem before purchasing. There are 3 types of waterproofing systems that can be used to waterproof your basement.
We recommend asking the seller to make sure the damp issue is fully rectified before negotiating on the price of the property.
Ask the property seller to contact a CSSW qualified surveyor to identify why the basement is damp. Once the cause of the problem has been identified, the surveyor will report on the most efficient waterproofing solution to making that the basement is not at risk of damp but flooding as well.
What to Do If the Seller Doesn’t Agree on the Reduction in Cost for Treating Damp?
If the seller doesn’t agree to reducing the cost of the house for carrying out the repairs for the damp problem, then it may be best to walk away from purchasing the property. Even if the property has a small damp problem this can lead to a bigger problem further down the line which may lead to further financial outlay to rectify.
We hope this article has helped guide you on what to do if the property you are purchasing has damp problems. Each damp problem is different so make sure you have a damp specialist carry out an inspection at the property, so you know what you are dealing with.
You can contact one of our fully qualified surveyors located in England, Scotland, or Wales by calling 0800 288 8660 or requesting a survey online.