We all know the problems to look for when viewing potential new homes. Leaky taps, creaking floorboards and….keen DIYers?
Recent research revealed that only 43% would get a professional tradesman to carry out maintenance on their home. Almost a third of those surveyed are amateur plumbers, 24% are self-certified electricians and perhaps most alarmingly, 13% don’t let a small matter like lack of knowledge stop them from having a go at fixing their own boiler or gas appliance.
How can I spot this?
Equip yourself with as much knowledge as possible. It’s essential that you get a building survey carried out by a chartered surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
They will assess during the building survey whether the work that has been done on the house is of a good standard, is safe and meets UK regulations, allowing you to renegotiate or withdraw if they spot any potential issues.
Legally, chartered surveyors have a responsibility to actively search for potential issues and inform you of them. If you notice anything during viewings that you think might be of concern, highlight this to the chartered surveyor when you instruct them. Unlike a HomeBuyer report, these surveys can be customised to your needs.
You might ask them to pay special attention to:
Alterations to supporting walls
Renovation that may not have been performed with planning permission
Damp, hazardous materials, timber damage
Damage to masonry or the roof
A full building survey will inspect all accessible parts of the property and give you a detailed report on everything that can be seen. If the seller hasn’t had recent checks performed on gas and electricity fittings, or is unable to provide evidence of them taking place, the report will advise that these must be checked by relevant professionals.
Some homeowners could even be invalidating their home insurance if they botch their DIY job. Standard insurance cover that hasn’t been extended to include accidental damage won’t cover any DIY catastrophes that damage their property or possessions.
Aside from the obvious health and safety concerns, those attempting electric, gas and plumbing maintenance could similarly be invalidating their insurance. Always get quotes from qualified tradespeople to carry out work on your home. Doing the work yourself could end up being a false economy.