Common house survey problems

If you’ve found your dream home, the last thing you want is a survey that reveals problems. However, this doesn’t mean that your purchase can’t go ahead. Usually, a solution can be found.

When a property is offered for sale its condition isn’t always obvious. It isn’t until the surveyor has had a good look round that problems are discovered. We look at five of the most common issues that a survey reveals.

Problems with the roof

Because of the difficulties of examining a roof and the exposure it receives, a survey will quite often find problems with a roof. This could include damaged tiles, inadequate ventilation and insulation in the roof space, chimney disrepair and blocked guttering.


There are many causes of damp within a property, including condensation and inadequate ventilation as well as leaks and damage to the substance of the property and roof so that damp can come in from outside. Basements in particular often have quite extensive damp problems.

Subsidence or structural movement

Cracks in a property can simply be as a result of a house settling over time, or more unusually they may be indicative of a more serious problem such as subsidence. Your survey will advise you of the severity of the issue and you should be able to discuss possible remedies with the surveyor.

Condition of the windows

Modern double-glazed windows often fall into disrepair quite quickly and gaps and cracks can appear around them as well as moisture appearing between the glazing panels.

The presence of asbestos

Properties built before the eighties may have asbestos in them, for example, on a garage roof or in a boiler pipe. Asbestos has to be removed by specialist contractors and can be expensive to deal with.

What to do when your survey reveals a problem

A disappointing survey doesn’t have to mean the end of your purchase, but it is essential that you find out the extent of any issue and how much it will cost to rectify.

Ask the estate agent if you can send round experts to look at a problem in depth and provide you with quotes for putting things right.

You can then use these quotes to renegotiate the price to take into account the work that is needed. It is in the seller’s interest to agree a deal, as if there is a problem, it is likely to show up on everyone’s survey, so they won’t simply be able to find a new buyer.

If you would like to speak to one of our expert property lawyers, contact us on 0345 2413100 or email us at

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