• Tiles

    Replace any tiles that are damaged or have slipped.

  • Roof Support

    Heavy concrete tiles may need extra support. You may also need to strengthen supports if you’ve had a loft conversion in the property, removed internal walls or use the loft to store heavy items.

  • Flashings

    Flashings are used when a roof slope meets brickwork to keep out damp. In modern properties these are normally made of lead and should not cause a problem. However in older buildings they are more likely to be sand/cement fillet and are a surveyor’s pet hate. When selling a property, check your fillets. If they have cracked, you’ll need to repair them and possibly replace them with lead.

  • Rafters

    Check inside your property’s roof space that roof timbers have not become detached, particularly at the ends of rafters where they are attached to the wall plate. If they have, replace them.

  • Flat Roofs

    These are often prone to leaks. If your property has a felt roof, it should be covered with white stone chippings to reflect the heat of the sun. If you plan to sell the house, check that the felt has not split at the junction with walls and eaves. Asphalt can easily be repaired by reheating if it is cracked or blistered.

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A little rain can cause a lot of damage to the interior of a property. Here’s how to check that your home is watertight, and tips to help you keep things that way.

  • Gutters

    When you decide to sell your property, check all the gutters carefully, particularly if they are older cast-iron gutters. They should slope slightly towards the downpipe. Look at the base of the walls for splash marks or the back of downpipes for staining on the brickwork, as these may mean a cracked gutter. If you have a problem, replace the gutter promptly.

  • Hopper Heads

    Check that the top of drainpipes are not blocked by leaves and make sure you keep all gutters and pipes free from any blockage.

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Modern timber-framed windows are usually made of soft wood and are prone to rot at the bottom of the frame, sills and mullions. When selling a property, the best solution to this problem is to ensure that your windows are regularly painted and the sills are regularly wiped down to remove any standing water. Repainting every four or five years is normally enough.

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All buildings move to a certain degree and cracks will always be found by a surveyor - particularly on the exterior of a property. If you’re worried about any particular cracks when selling a house, it is well worth taking advice from a building surveyor before marketing this property. If the cracks are not serious, you’ll not only enjoy peace of mind but you can speed up the selling process by showing any supporting evidence to prospective purchasers.

Here are some of the most common signs of movement and where it may be found:

  • Bay Windows

    They are often prone to movement as they impose less ground pressure than the rest of the property and have more shallow foundations.

  • Diagonal Cracks

    These are often signs of movement being caused by trees too close to the property. Be aware that removing the tree will not always correct the problem.

  • Cracks close to Door and Window openings

    These are often signs that the property has suffered from subsidence. If this is the case, you may need to monitor the movement to see how severe and/ or recent the subsidence is then take advice from a surveyor or engineer before selling.

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Electric wiring does wear out, and should be tested every five years. However, as a general rule, any wiring installed in a property before 1967 probably needs replacing if you are planning to sell.

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Central heating boilers should be serviced annually. New radiators also have independent temperature controls which you may consider installing as they improve the efficiency of your heating.

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Rising damp – or any other damp – can be a major problem if you’re selling your property. If you find any of the following, it’s a good idea to start remedial work as soon as possible.

  • Penetration damp

    Look for damp patches and staining where rainwater has found its way into the structure of a building.

  • Rising damp

    This can be found in rotten skirting boards or damp at the base of walls. It’s usually caused by a break in the damp proof course (dpc) allowing moisture from the ground to be drawn up into your property. A new dpc can be installed very easily – normally by injecting chemicals into the brickwork. Be aware that after injecting a new damp course it is possible that moisture may be trapped in the upper section of the wall. If this happens, you may have to remove the damp plaster and allow the brickwork to dry out.

  • Condensation

    This is caused by poor ventilation and is often found in houses with double-glazing. A common characteristic is mould or spotty black furry stains on wall surfaces. Improving the ventilation usually cures this problem.

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Surveyors always check drains, so ensure that your drains are regularly rodded and kept clear of any blockages. Be wary of cracked drains which can be invaded by tree roots. These can eventually block the drain completely and cause more severe problems such as subsidence.

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