Non-motoring > Surprises in newly bought house Miscellaneous
Thread Author: bathtub tom Replies: 15

 Surprises in newly bought house - bathtub tom
The old garage had been converted into an office and shed with a partition wall. The carpet in the office was the filthiest I've ever seen, so I pulled it up. Underneath was a black layer, which I've now decided was roofing felt (the previous occupant was a builder). I decided to remove that as I didn't know what would happen to it in warmer weather and didn't want to be treading any black,sticky stuff around. It was a garage and had a car that leaked oil in it at some time. I now know old engine oil on concrete is a marvellous method of glueing down roofing felt!
 Surprises in newly bought house - Slightlyfatdirector
Sounds like you have some fun on your hands!

Four years ago we moved into a house. c. 1930's with a few extensions of the years. We have moved many times of the years (7 times in 8 years before) so thought we had seen it all.

We viewed it thoroughly (we thought) 3 times and only saw a few cosmetic issues, and the survey (for what it was worth) brought little to light. The owner said that it would get a deep clean before they left and we were happy. We moved in and it was absolutely filthy.

First night, due to horrendous noise in the loft directly above the bed in the main bedroom we established that the loft was infested with squirrels who had been living there for some time (generations) - oh, along with lots of evidence of rats. Some joists chewed quite badly.

We found that there was a door to a bathroom and one to a teenagers bedroom that did not actually close - or indeed fit in the frames.

We found radiators that did not work at all, and assumed that they were sludged-up, but no, they were clean and nearly new. Where the house had been extended over the years the heating system was not strong enough to get water to all the radiators. That and a mixture of different bore pipes had been used all over the place.

Found water on the top of some built -in cupboards in a room downstairs and no sign of how it got there. Happened a few times . No wet wall, no wet ceiling but puddles of water on the top.

Completely mystified. Found the water was coming through some missing grout in a shower above that, went down in between a cavity wall, onto some electrical cables to the back of a wall-mounted TV in the room below, across the TV bracket and then poured off the end. Clearly has been happening for sometime as shower was in teenage daughter's ensuite and grout was very bad. This was not new.

Electric mains cable found to be unshielded and below just 1mm of plaster. Many of the electrics were condemned by our electrician who also found live wires cut off and exposed in the loft.

Some sunken ceiling lights in a room were not working. Changed bulbs and no joy. Then found all the transformers had melted as they had been packed into the ceiling insulation and had over-heated.

Found a lot of small cracks in the plaster of a bedroom wall that was part of a newer extension and when we had it looked at we found that the supporting steel in the loft was neither placed correctly or even secured to anything.

Found that the kitchen sink took ages to drain away, and when in was investigated we discovered that there was a cracked drain just where the waste went out of the house and there was lots of accumulated food waste that was blocking this drain where it left the house and there was lots of it all under the decking (explained the profusion of rats) and it has clearly been like this for months.

And those are just some of the problems we found! So many were clearly known about before the sale but not addressed.

Has taken a lot of time and effort (and money) to get everything resolved, but four years on we are nearly there! Had not realised that we had bought a project, and had not paid project money either! I am sure others had had worse horror stories, and they have my sympathy.....
 Surprises in newly bought house - Ambo
Don't both posts raise "caveat emptor" and compensation issues?
 Surprises in newly bought house - Robin O'Reliant
Surely the previous owner would have been liable to correct the known and obvious faults? I thought the law was fairly strict on that now.
 Surprises in newly bought house - CGNorwich
"Surely the previous owner would have been liable to correct the known and obvious faults?"

"If faults are known and obvious to the buyer the seller would not need to point them out."

The seller must not misrepresent the property the property and must disclose any known problems that are not readily appararent. He must disclose any work that has been done on the search form

In real life thing get trickier.r Did the seller do the work or was it a previous owner? Was the owner acually aware of the faulty work. Were the problems obvious?

Litigation is expensive and uncertain and at the end of the day the seller may have no funds. Better to inspect the property thoroughly with someone knowleadgeable about buildings and have a full survey done before proceeding
 Surprises in newly bought house - Slightlyfatdirector
At the end of the day surveyor's reports cover some but not all issues, and the property information form covers others, but there is nothing to say that all the heating had been checked, the electrics were all safe, doors closed, etc, etc. If I had wanted all that checking I could have paid to have that done, or just looked closer myself in some cases.

Yes, it's very much 'buyer beware' and we resigned ourselves to that.

This was our 9th house move together and the only one where what we have found was not as expected. The house had been owned by a medical professional and family so for some reason we assumed that it would be clean, safe and be hiding no obvious faults.

I could not personally imagine knowingly selling a house to someone with issues that could (and should) have been resolved before the sale when there is no way they could not have known about them...

How they got any sleep with the animals in the loft is beyond me! :)

I do know that they appear to have had poor work done in many areas and either thought that was normal or didn't know any better. Some of the electrics had a signed off safety certificate, but on inspection by our sparky (who trains others professionally) he said they were downright dangerous in places.

We thought it was odd the the double-glazing in a front bay window had gaps between the window and the brick-work on the outside that you could get most of your hand into, and there were lots of pencil marks and numbers written on the windows too. We had the guarantee for them and called out the (national) company that had installed them and when they visited they were incredulous. Turns out they had never completed the job and there was a day or two's work left to go and the customer had never chased them for it in the previous few years.

All finished now and not charged for, it but other work they had done appears to have been done very poorly.

Still, we put it down to experience and next time will be far more eagle-eyed to potential issues. We hated the house for the first year / 18 months but love it now and know that it is both safe and all working correctly so when we sell it we will have peace of mind :)
 Surprises in newly bought house - Fullchat
Looking to the future, and not throw dead money on Uni accommodation fees, we bought our daughters a small end link house with a slight reduction on the asking price. Which looking at house sale history in the area was not far off the ceiling. In hindsight it was the end of a long search of a lot of similar properties in the area which all had issues or immediately obvious future work such as new roofs or evidence of damp in older properties. Property was starting to move at the time.
We did go as far as a Surveyor on one which highlighted a number of potential areas for work and reduced the offer but was perhaps a bit optimistic. Overall it was a reasonable property. Anyway the vendor was not prepared to move as far and that was it. Surveyors fee lost, £300 ish.
Surveyors reports all seem to have a get out for a lot of issues in the small print.
Coming back to the property we bought. We did not bother with a survey. All walls showed no signs of movement or cracks and overall it looked in good condition. Recent new kitchen. Nicely furnished.
Problem is you do not really get quality time to properly snoop about and to test and inspect everything. Its a first impression of both property and vendor type of purchase. It is not until you get into a vacated property that you find issues.

Up to press:
Boiler (in loft) was on its last legs and required replacement.
Front, quite large, 1st generation UPVC picture windows were condensating on the inside. Frames and glass replaced.
Garages are linked in a separate communal area. Door was falling apart and required replacement. Signs of movement on top rows of bricks.
Really nice Sychamore tree in rear garden had well outgrown its surroundings and the autumn leaf fall caused problems to guttering and drainage. Removed professionally.
Downstairs plaster areas had been re-skimmed. Dreadfully. Around and behind fittings as far as the trowel could reach with lumps of old wallpaper embedded.
A lick of gloss white had been applied to wood surfaces without cleaning or prep and just flaked off to the touch. Much sanding and prep to get it off.
Lumps of cooking foil in various holes - evidence of mice having been running round in loft and hidden areas.
House alarm us required engineers reset and no code provided. System replaced and upgraded.
Poor quality 'fitted' wardrobes in the 2 upstairs rooms. Upgraded.
The hob extractor in the kitchen does not vent outside (really difficult to do) nor does it have any form of filter in it.
Insufficient power sockets upstairs. Loads more fitted by yours truly.
It was also treated to a new bathroom which although no completely necessary has made an improvement.
The property has had some money thrown at it to repair, replace, upgrade and redecorate. Some of the major items were not obvious on the 3 visits we made to look around. Had I known I wouldn't have gone ahead without £5000 reduction in price. If you don't know you have no bargaining power. There is always an expectation of some remedial decoration type work.
I've undertaken a lot of work myself and I'm my own worst enemy and am not prepared to take shortcuts. Ive invested a lot of my time. I'm looking to the time they may want to sell and want to make it as attractive to buy as possible. I'm almost certain that in the near to mid term I (they) wont recoup the extra expenditure.

 Surprises in newly bought house - sooty123
Having lived in a few houses and seen inside friends and family new bought houses, it's a never ending surprise what bodges people put up with, I think for some as long as the house isn't falling down around them they don't much mind.
Last edited by: sooty123 on Sat 29 Jan 22 at 11:01
 Surprises in newly bought house - helicopter
Caveat Emptor. I find it surprising that some people are not more cautious when making what is usually their largest ever purchase.

My bungalow was bought privately from two brothers who were builders who were well known locally and had a good reputation.

I did have a survey done but also did my own inspection and that involved crawling into the corners of the loft and raising drain covers etc.

I asked the sellers numerous questions as regards the building construction and materials used which they were able to answer because they had done a lot of work in the bungalow for themselves to a high quality.

I arranged with them to do extra bits of work such as additional boarding in the loft and putting hooks and clips on to the patio doors

So when I moved in 20 years ago I had no surprises at all.

My new next door neighbours have just employed the same brothers to do some building work for them on my recommendation...and I know they will do a good job.

 Surprises in newly bought house - sooty123
I guess most people won't be looking in lofts and under drainage covers because they've no idea what to look for.

Questions to the seller are all well and good as long as they answer in some sort of fashion rather than, no idea mate.
 Surprises in newly bought house - Clk Sec
>> I did have a survey done but also did my own inspection and that involved crawling into the corners of the loft and raising drain covers etc.

I would expect a potential buyer to employ professionals to carry out the necessary inspections. Who knows what damage an amateur might cause.
 Surprises in newly bought house - Dog
Back in the day when I was a mobile car engine tuner, I went on a building site in Tower Hamlets to sort out a carpenters' car.

I found 'im fitting the doors to the new builds - he was hammering the screws in when fitting all the hinges!!
 Surprises in newly bought house - Robin O'Reliant
>> I found 'im fitting the doors to the new builds - he was hammering the
>> screws in when fitting all the hinges!!

I think that's fairly common among carpenters, assuming he had actually drilled the holes first.

I do it myself sometimes.
 Surprises in newly bought house - bathtub tom
The couple buying my place were delighted to find I'd boarded the loft (properly with flooring grade timber). They're barred from using the loft of their place for storage by insurance. It's a fairly new build.
 Surprises in newly bought house - Clk Sec
"They're barred from using the loft of their place for storage by insurance. It's a fairly new build."

That's one of the reasons we didn't look at new, or fairly new, properties when we moved house a year or so ago.
Last edited by: Clk Sec on Sat 29 Jan 22 at 14:26
 Surprises in newly bought house - bathtub tom
>>hammering the screws in

I've heard chippies say screwdrivers are used for lining up the screw heads.
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