Compare My Move Reveals Homebuyers’ Biggest Property Concerns

White tile and wooden floor bathroom with a few inches of flood water across the floor

The UK property market has surged during the later stages of the pandemic, with sales hitting a record level in June, largely thanks to the extended stamp duty holiday, buyers looking for more space, and pent up demand.

This has resulted in the biggest conveyancing logjam ever seen, causing delays for both buyers and sellers.

However, in order to ensure a dream home doesn’t turn into a nightmare upon completion, it’s essential buyers organise a home survey to highlight any major issues – even if it does slow the process a little.

With this in mind, the data analysts at Compare My Move have found homebuyers’ biggest property concerns based on information supplied when searching for a surveyor.

Damp is the top concern when buying a property according to the study, with almost 1 in 4 homebuyers noting it as a potential issue for a surveyor to explore:

Top 10 UK Property Concerns

Concern Number of inquiries
Damp
24.5%
Crack
14.9%
Roofing
14.9%
Subsidence
8.3%
Flooring
6.3%
Japanese knotweed
6.1%
Electrical
6.1%
Structural
4.5%
Age
3.9%
Ceiling
3.4%

Bottom 10 UK Property Concerns

Concern Number of inquiries
Cladding
0.8%
Stability
1%
Gas
1.2%
Mould
1.3%
Plumbing
1.4%
Insulation
1.5%
Door
1.5%
Flooding
1.8%
Chimney
2%
Heating
2.1%

While damp is easily fixed, if left untreated it can not only cause extreme damage to the structure of the property but also to your health. Also, it’s not the cheapest issue to fix. Depending on how severe the damp is, it can rise to several thousand pounds if you need to treat every wall.

Damp is a common problem, particularly in older properties, and is usually caused by either poor ventilation, a leaking roof, failed damp proof course or plumbing problems. Your surveyor will carry out a full inspection of each potential cause and the severity of the damp in the property.

Following in joint second place is ‘crack’ and ‘roofing’, with almost one in six (14.9%) highlighting these two issues as a concern.

While most houses will experience cracks in the walls at some point, most of the time, it’s a natural occurrence caused by settlement that can be easily fixed. However, larger cracks could be a sign of serious structural problems, like damage to the foundations, which should be taken seriously.

‘Subsidence’ (8.3%) and ‘flooring’ (6.5%) complete the top five property concerns among homebuyers in the UK. In 2018, several insurers found a 20 percent increase in subsidence claims after the year’s heatwaves led to cracks appearing in walls.

If you’re worried about potential subsidence in a property, it’s worth noting homes built on clay are particularly susceptible to subsidence during long, dry summers. This is something a surveyor and conveyancer will investigate as part of your house purchase.

Cladding is of least concern to homebuyers, with only 0.8 per cent noting it as a concern. However, this issue mainly affects high-rise flats which make up a small percentage of house purchases each year.

Following the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017, it’s unsurprising to see homebuyers in London are most concerned about dangerous cladding, with almost two-thirds of enquiries coming from worried buyers in the capital (62%).

‘Stability’ follows closely as the second-least concerning issue, with only one per cent of enquiries including this. ‘Gas’ (1.2%), ‘mould’ (1.3%) and ‘plumbing’ (1.4%) complete the bottom five concerns for homebuyers.

While a home survey isn’t a compulsory condition of sale, it’s a very important step in the process for buyers. It will highlight any issues with the property that could be costly (or impossible) to put right, it can help you renegotiate your original offer to cover additional costs or give you more information to decide whether to walk away from the sale.

There are three types of home survey. The most basic is an RICS Condition Report which provides an overview of the property’s condition and highlights significant issues. This is best for a modern property that’s in good condition.

Level two is an RICS HomeBuyer Report which is more thorough. The surveyor will advise on issues that could affect the property’s value, report on damp and subsidence, and provide you with information about the cost of repairs. A Sava Home Condition Survey is also similar but doesn’t go into property value.

Finally, there’s the level three RICS Building Survey which provides a comprehensive analysis of both the property’s structure and condition. This is best for properties older than 50 years old, if it’s an unusual design or is in poor condition.

If you’re selling a home, it’s always worth checking to see if there are any potential issues with your home that could be fixed before putting it up for sale. Not only can these issues put potential buyers off and delay the sale of your home, they could also devalue your property.

 

Dave Sayce, Founder and Director at Compare My Move commented:

“Buying a property is one of the biggest – if not the biggest –purchases you’ll make in your lifetime. So, to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible and aren’t hit with surprise problems when you move in, organising a Homebuyers Report is very important.

“It’s always worth getting quotes from surveyors in order to get the best price for you. However, when doing this it’s important to make sure any surveyor you contact is RICS qualified.”

 

To view the full list of property concerns, click here.