Can someone tell me what to look out for on this one please!
We are having to relocate due to hubby’s work. We came across this property around may time, but unfortunately it was sold before we got chance to view. The would be purchasers have unluckily for the vendor ( but luckily for us) pulled out due to a mortgage issue, which is nothing to do with the property, as I have been able to obtain survey copies which are all good.
The property here:-
Is extremely well looked after, it’s that tidy I’m struggling to know where to look to double check myself! What should I be looking for in terms of obvious faults? Many years ago, we rented a BISF house, and loved the space it gave us.
We are worried about the values over time as the building ages, any advice you could give would be most welcome. The survey states it’s good for 50 years + We know the vendor will take an offer on it, as he needs to move fast or he will lose the property he hopes to move to. We just want some reassurance before we jump.
Thanks in advance 🙂
Hello Moonzie, welcome to the forums.
Firstly, may I say that you have certainly chosen a very well presented property with an immaculate and charming rear garden.
There would normally be a number of areas to visually inspect yourself when buying a BISF House, with particular attention being paid to the condition of the outer walls of the original property. It is as these corners that cracking to the original render and cracking of the foundation slab if visible, can sometimes indicate corrosion to the corner stanchions, which are the most prone elements of the property, particularly in cases where a property has not been maintained or neglected.
In this case however, all of the outer walls have been overclad, making any such inspection virtually impossible. The good news however, is that should corrosion to these support stanchions ever be found in the future, repair of any corroded portion is pretty straightforward and cost effective. So this should provide peace of mind in that area.
This particular property appears to have been very well maintained with the rear extension being added sometime around 2006, so it would appear that it has been well maintained at least during the last 11 years and probably much longer than this as I can find no recent trace of it being sold or changing hands recorded in the land registry since the right to buy scheme was introduced in 1980. (at least not recorded)
The roof has been reclad with a lightweight roofing system with is also a positive as lenders are not particularly fond of corrugated asbestos and I believe that as time goes by, they will become even more reluctant to lend on properties still fitted with the old asbestos roofing material.
There is very little to see inside a BISF property that may give clues to hidden issues, other than the usual suspects such as mould or damp that can affect any type of property including brick built homes.
Apart from that, the only way to be certain of the true condition of the structure, would be to carry out an invasive survey using a borescope. This is a tiny camera that is passed through a small hole drilled into the wall lining of the house. The operator can then move the camera around and visually inspect the steel supports for signs of corrosion with minimal disruption to the homeowner. A full structural survey is the only way you can be 100% sure of the structures condition, plus it offers more protection should a structural issue arise in the future that was missed in the Building Survey.
I presume that you have a Homebuyers Report as opposed to a structural survey. A homebuyers report only offers a visual inspection of exposed surfaces and a valuation for lending purposes whereby a Building survey is far more in depth. The choice is ultimately your to decide which you choose.
Moving on to the future, remember that BISF Houses were built as permanent structures with the same intended lifespan as a brick house. If well maintained, there is no reason for their value to decline within the next 25 – 50 years, provided they are looked after. The main cause of corrosion to the frame is due to water ingress through cracked or perforated outer walls that have not been maintained to a good standard. I see no such signs in the limited view I have from the sales particulars.
I have only one minor negative to mention. The upper portion of the house has been clad in clay tiles. Whilst clay tiles are much lighter than concrete tiles, they do still place a significant load onto the frame of the building which was never designed to carry such a weight. On the plus side, they do offer excellent weather protection against water ingress but just be aware of the weight issue. I have seen thousands of properties clad in this way and I have not heard of any significant issues caused by vertical tile installations but it could be an issue for some surveyors in the future, depending upon their view of such an installation.
Other than that, it looks like you have a very nice property there and I wish you well should you proceed with the sale.
If you want me to look over the survey you have, just send me a copy to [email protected] and I’ll give you my thoughts.
Any problems or further questions, just post them here.
Thank you for your thoughts. I know the property has been with the present owner for many many years. He was a landscaper, which explains the garden. It is exceptionally tidy.
I know there have been a few viewings and given he wants to sell quickly, he may go with someone who can move quicker, ( we are at the top of a chain ) Hubby has the survey with him and is in London at present, so I’m unable to do much as he won’t be back for a fortnight now.
I *believe* it’s not a full structural, which we would likely do if proceeding. I’ve been chasing our solicitors all afternoon to see exactly where we are at now. We’ve already had one disaster with our chain, but all is resolved now, all be it going at a much slower pace than we would like. I’ll let you know what happens. 🙂