Eight home survey problems that could cost buyers up to £30,000

Abigail Fenton
·Writer
·4 mins read
Asbestos, damp, faulty electrics and Japanese knotwood are among the costly problems home surveys catch. ( Julien Behal/PA Archive/PA Images)
Asbestos, damp, faulty electrics and Japanese knotwood are among the costly problems home surveys catch. Photo: Julien Behal/PA

If UK housebuyers had to fix all of the most common issues found in home surveys, it would cost them nearly £30,000 ($38,000), research suggests.

Property experts revealed to Insulation Express the eight most common issues found in home surveys, plus, how much you could end up paying to fix them if you decide against an inspection.

Asbestos is the biggest problem Brits encounter in their homes, especially in the last two years, during which time internet searches for “asbestos” have shot up 82%, Google data shows.

According to the experts, the only way to know if your house has asbestos, which has been banned since 1999, is to have it tested by an expert, and that alone could cost up to £200. Then, to actually remove the asbestos, homeowners are looking at a cost of £50 per square metre — or £2,500 for the average UK house.

The second most-common issue in UK homes is structural movements and settlements. This is usually indicated by cracks in ceilings and walls, and can eventually cause walls, floors and roofs to collapse, experts warned.

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Cracks in plaster are also common, so there’s no needy to immediately jump to the worst conclusion. But, if the house does have structural problems, fixing it by reinforcing or underpinning could cost about £13,500.

Damp has also seen a surge in internet searches in the last two years, shooting up 82% since 2018. This can often be a small problem, or it spread throughout the entire house — meaning the cost varies. But, the average cost of treating rising damp in the UK is £2,750.

The rapidly-spreading Japanese knotweed is also a very common problem for homeowners in the UK. The weed can grow to over seven feet long, and is capable of invading cracks in concrete, drains, paved driveways and patios, lawns and even mortar joints in walls.

Getting rid of the weed is tough to do yourself, and hiring a professional typically costs about £3,000 for 30 to 50 metres of removal.

Electrical issues, searches for which have shot up 67% over the past two years, are not even typically assessed during a home survey, which means even if you get one, you probably won’t be informed unless something is really, noticeably wrong, the experts warned.

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Buyers are advised to ask for a electrical installation condition report (EICR) — especially if one hasn’t been done in over 10 years. However, as isn’t a legal requirement, they could end up having to pay for it themselves. What’s more, sellers don’t legally have to provide this information at all.

If your home does turn out to have faulty electrics, hiring a professional to rewire the whole house could cost about £4,000, the experts said.

Searches for faulty drain pipes have increased by nearly half (45%) since 2018, Google data shows.

Sagging, damp walls, a leaky roof, overflowing gutters or no overflow from downpipes — meaning, no water flows out when it rains — could mean your guttering system needs replacing, which could cost you about £650, the experts said.

Pitch and flat roof issues, including missing roof tiles, gaps and dangerous structures, are common, and earches have shot up by 55% in the past two years. Replacing roof tiles costs about £190 in the UK, according to the experts.

READ MORE: The 'undesirable' features that could knock £50,000 off the value of your home

Problems with insulation — including loft, floor and cavity wall — is the last major issue found in home surveys. Internet searches for insulation problems have also shot up 55% in the last two years, according to Google data.

If you don’t get a home survey and find out later that your insulation is inadequate, you can still get it through government’s funds such as the Green Homes Grant. However, if you don’t qualify a grant, it could cost you up to £2,000, the experts said.

Overall, the cost of these measures comes to £28,590. A home survey could help you avoid this cost, either by letting you know when to walk away from a property, or by giving you leverage to negotiate a cheaper deal — which nearly seven in 10 (69%) of those who get one do, said Depaq Singh from construction firm Rightbuild.

He said: “If your survey reveals you’ll need to carry out repairs costing £5,000, you could negotiate a reduction on the asking price or request that the seller makes the essential repairs before completion. That potential saving makes paying for a full survey worth it.”