News and resources

Victorian property - get a survey.

posted 26 Mar 2016, 07:45 by Phillip Rushforth   [ updated 26 Mar 2016, 07:48 ]

A happy customer wrote - "Have received the report, just what we were looking for on the property (Victorian end terraced house).
Thanks for your help, we would certainly recommend your service to any prospective buyers in the Buckingham area."

The property had damp walls and floor, and spalling brickwork.

Legionella Risk Assessment

posted 26 Mar 2016, 07:36 by Phillip Rushforth   [ updated 26 Mar 2016, 07:36 ]

Landlords and letting agents have a duty to ensure that the property is safe. This includes a duty to ensure that the risk to exposure by tenants, residents and visitors by legionella is properly assessed and controlled. FCS House Surveys are accredited Legionella Risk Assessors, and can issue accredited Legionella Risk Assessment certificates.

Thatched roofs

posted 9 May 2015, 05:39 by Phillip Rushforth

FCS House Surveys have added Thatched roofs to the portfolio of defects that can be assessed, having been trained by Master Thatcher Charles in Devon. There are many aspects of thatched roofs that require inspection, not only on the outside, but in the roof space. The roofs will also be inspected inside and out for safety issues in order to minimise the risk of fire.

Another happy home buyer

posted 2 Feb 2015, 04:00 by Phillip Rushforth

2014 came to a close with FCS House Surveys having complete more surveys in 2014 than in previous years.
Here is feedback from one of the latest surveys in December 2014.....

Thank you for the attached. You have been helpful and swift in completing the report- and thank you for the additional fact sheets.

 We would definitely use your services again and would recommend these to friends etc...

A third party report on the condition of your next home costs a small fraction of 1% of the potential value of the home, yet can potentially save you up to 10% of the asking price (based on surveys carried out by FCS House Surveys) - email info@firstclassservice.co.uk or phone 01280 422848

Untitled Post

posted 16 Dec 2013, 09:54 by Phillip Rushforth

It has been a while since the TV series "Help, my house is falling down" was last aired, but the concept is the same.
If you are borrowing money to help to fund a house purchase, it is almost certain that the lender will insist on you paying for a "Valuation Survey" - this is not a house survey.
This is purely a check that the property that you are buying is worth about what you are paying of it. 
You do not see the results of the 'survey' because it is not a survey. It is an assessment of the likely value of the property.
You could opt to pay the lender's extra charge in order to obtain a proper survey, often, this will cost you more than paying for an independent survey.
If you are lucky enough not to require a loan, then you don't need a valuation (other than asking other Estate Agent)s, but you are strongly advised to have a survey.
FCS House Surveys provide independent surveys on the condition of your next property. If it's beyond our experience, we'll tell you and decline to quote, but for more than 80% of UK properties, we are there for you.

Is your next house about to fall down?

posted 5 Jan 2012, 10:38 by Phillip Rushforth   [ updated 5 Jan 2012, 10:40 ]

Buyers, are you worried that your next property may have hidden faults?
The Channel 4 TV series "Help! my house is falling down" has shown many different cases of new buyers failing to obtain a survey when buying a property.
The Mortgage Valuation Survey is just that - a check by the lender that the house is worth roughly what you are paying for it, and that the advance that is to be made on the property is in line with the value.
Sometimes, the valuer (who you have paid for) does not even enter the property. The principle when buying a house is the same as when buying most other 'used' items - Buyer Beware!.
Why is more attention paid to the condition and warranty of a used car than to property surveys on homes costing 10 to 100 times more than a used car?
The mortgage lender or Estate Agent cannot insist that you use a surveyor from their panel, in fact, you should avoid using a surveyor from the agent marketing the property.
The only requirement that lenders should impose is that the valuer (or valuation survey) is from one of their panel, but you are free to choose your own building surveyor.
FCS House Surveys are independent from lenders and Estate Agents so you will receive a completely unbiased, honest and accurate survey.

Is your property falling down?

posted 18 Aug 2010, 07:35 by Phillip Rushforth   [ updated 5 Jan 2012, 10:22 ]

The TV series on Channel 4 hosted by Sarah Beeny shows what can develop into major problems if you buy an older property without first obtaining a house survey. In the episode screened on Tuesday 17th August, a rear extension was falling away from the main property due to it having been built on a very soft infill material. It should have been built on piles sunk 6 metres into the ground to rest on a firm load bearing material, as the main house had been built.
There was terrible black mould growing in the corners of several bedrooms creating a health hazzard for their children. This was removed using bleach. The cause was then removed by adding insulation to the walls and ceiling, applying some heating to the rooms, and by providing ventilation - simply opening a window for a few hours during the day can be enough ventilation.
A further problem that could have been identified during a survey was the presence of rats in the loft. They were thriving in the garden round an open compost heap and entering the house via an open ended pipe.
The final problem may not have been found during a standard (non invasive) survey, but it was two fold - a badly fitted soil pipe under the floor boards in the cloakroom causing a leak, and a cracked ceramic drain pipe under the property.
 
When buying any property, buyer beware.
 
Is it really worth saving a few hundred pounds by not having a house survey carried out on your next property?
 
FCS House Surveys has even received phone calls asking for advice on newly built homes.

Checklist of tips for moving house, home moving ticklist, things to remember

posted 17 Aug 2010, 10:15 by Phillip Rushforth   [ updated 5 Jan 2012, 10:41 ]

Checklist - Things to remember when moving home:

 

 

1.    Have a plan for your house move, including your goals, timeframe for completion and preferred area to move to.

 

2.    Do your research - get to know the process and start visiting the areas that you are interested in moving to – people in local shops are an invaluable source of local ‘gossip’.

 

Buying:

3.    Get a good understanding of your finances, including the value of property you can afford. Shop around for a mortgage that suits your needs (comparison sites on the internet can be very helpful) and if necessary obtain a copy of your credit report.

 

4.    Consider what are your ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ in your new home. Which of these are realistic in your preferred area and within your budget?

 

5.    Make full use of the national property websites like rightmove.com and primelocation.com in your house hunting. You can subscribe to email updates of houses matching your search criteria.

 

6.    Once you find a house that you like and want to put a offer in for, get a House Survey to help you understand the condition of the property. If there are faults in the condition, request quotations from tradesmen, so that you know the cost of fixing these.
 

7.   The House Survey will often be in addition to a ‘Mortgage Survey’ or ‘Evaluation Report’, which frequently does not give you depth of information about the condition of the house.

 

8.    Know the ceiling price that you are willing to offer for the house and make a fair initial offer. If your survey shows faults in the condition of the property then make sure the price you offer reflects this.

 

9.    Have a ‘Plan B’ in case things do not progress as you would expect.

 

Selling:

 

10. Find an agent to market your property.

 

11. Have a house survey to assess its condition. Address any issues found, so you can achieve your target selling price and avoid problems in striking a deal caused by house condition.

 

12. Provide the buyer with a copy of the House Survey report, if favourable. This information supports the buyer in reaching an informed decision and helps avoid wasted time.

 

13. Show off your house to maximum effect: let the light in and ensure that everything is spotless, without clutter.

 

Moving:

 

14. Get written quotes from several removal firms. Obtain references and check the limits of their insurance. Book them at least 4 weeks before the required moving date.

 

15. Notify your clubs, associations and subscription providers well in advance of your move. Cancel in time to avoid paying for months of fees for services you will not use.

 

16. Take final readings from the utility meters, and note new readings as you move in.

 

17. Inform the following of your move: Banks, Finance Companies, Insurance Providers, Utility Providers, Council, Inland Revenue, your Doctor, Dentist, Optician, Employer, Education Providers, TV Licensing. Retrieve any necessary paperwork, transfer details and de-register as necessary.

 

18. Sign up for mail redirection with the Post Office.

 

19. Book storage if required. Check that home insurance is in place for the day that you exchange contracts on your new house.

 

 

then Celebrate!

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