Tom Chapman

If you are on the market for a new home, you will probably view many properties. Before the banks will give you a mortgage, they insist on a survey by a qualified professional to make sure that the property is sound. You must pay for it, and they are not cheap; it could cost about two-hundred pounds depending on where you live and the size of the property. Imagine if there were five houses that took your interest but each one of them, it turns out, had structural problems. That would cost you a fortune in surveyor’s fees.

You will find a few tips here, to help you sort the wheat from the chaff; as they say. If you can spot problems early on, you will not need to use surveyors; you can discount the property yourself.

Start At The Top

Take some binoculars with you when you see a property, so that you can inspect the roof in detail. You may not be able to spot issues with the naked eye, so stand away from the property for an uninterrupted view and begin your inspection.

  • Loose or missing tiles will be immediately apparent and could cause the roof to leak.

  • Check that the flashing is in place where the chimney meets the roof, and where different sections of the roof meet.

  • Look at the mortar courses between the bricks of the chimney. It is common for the stack to suffer damage from the weather over decades. Compare it to the brickwork on the walls to see if it is in good condition.


Many old properties suffer from subsidence, but it is not necessarily an issue. They could have sunk many years ago and are now stable. If, on the other hand, you the property is fifty years old or less, be suspicious. Here is how to identify problems:

  • Internal and external cracks in the walls. Lots of houses have small cracks in the courses, but if it is running through bricks, there is an issue.

  • Use a plumb line to see if the house is leaning.

  • Inspect the door frames and windows for signs that they are under stress. Pay attention to the corner joints.

When you find what you believe to be a sound property, check out the bathroom and kitchen. They are the two rooms that can clinch a sale and add value to the home. If the fixtures and fittings are old and past their best, it could cost a lot of money to replace them. It is not something you must do immediately, but you must allow for it nonetheless. The condition of the home is vital, but the experts reckon that it is still the location that primarily affects the average house prices in Hathersage and Bamford.

I hope you now have the confidence to investigate the fabric of potential houses and discount those that have issues. You will also save valuable time thanks you your new-found knowledge. It isn’t only money that is at stake, after all. These simple checks can make the house buying process easy. Don’t tell everybody though, or the surveyors will lose a lot of work!