Downsizing your house and
home review and how
we can help you

Independent Building Surveyors

If you are in the process of purchasing or selling a property whether you are downsizing or not we can provide help and advice with regard to pre-sale building surveys, structural surveys, home buyers reports, independent valuations, property surveys, engineers reports, structural reports, specific defects report or any other property matters.

Why have an independent building survey?

Always have an independent building survey as this will highlight any property problems. Caveat emptor means buyer beware and is why you need to have a building survey to find out if there are any problems within the property; the estate agent certainly will not advise you of any.

Remember the building Surveyor that you employ will be the only person working for you with your interests at heart.

What do the circles and ovals mean in our building surveys?

In our building surveys and structural surveys the circles and ovals are a system that we used to highlight property problem areas so that you are not left wondering what the property problem is. In addition to this if the survey photographs do not we believe explain the property problem enough together with our survey report we also add in one of our own survey sketches.

Overcladding and asbestos

Many photographs and surveying sketches

We use throughout our survey reports to make them as clear as possible many photographs and surveying sketches. Whilst the emphasis will always be on encapsulating the Good, Bad and Ugly within our Executive Summary section words are enhanced with photographs from a very powerful optical zoom camera. We also have our own unique set of survey sketches to make the property problem crystal clear. We literally have commissioned hundreds of our own survey sketches developed over many years depicting property issues.


Artex ceiling

Why were the couple selling their property?

As our lives change so do our living environments and when young with expanding families we often look to move to larger properties then as time goes by and the extra space is no longer required we frequently look to downsize.

At 1st Associated we carry out structural surveys for many couples and individuals wishing to downsize and are available to help with this important move to a new home. Often this move will be the last property move whereby in the past the criteria was to be close to work, schools and family etc the location choice may be to be near to family or close to a chosen location such as a seaside town to enjoy retirement years.

Decision to Sell your current home?

Selling a property is a big decision and after living in the same house for many years the decision to move and downsize is a life changing one. Over the years we often tend to collect items and store them in cupboards, loft space and cellars these together with furniture will need to be sorted through, which can be time consuming and furniture that will no longer be required or will be too big will need to be sold, given to family/friends or charity.


Stored items in loft space

When surveying properties we as independent Surveyors often find many stored items particularly in loft space which limits our view when carrying out full structural surveys hiding for example the common rafters which could have signs of dampness. We can find properties whereby the seller has piled boxes or placed furniture strategically to hide dampness in walls for example. Having an independent Surveyor carry out your property survey is so important when deciding to purchase a property or not as structural issues can be costly and be problematic.


Stored item may hide latent defects

Search for a smaller home

When downsizing as when moving at anytime in your life you will need to decide on the essential and desirable criteria of your new property.

When a couple downsized recently their criteria was as follows:

Essential property criteria

1. Semi-detached or detached bungalow as this is their retirement home being at low level will help with future maintenance of the property as well as helping should their mobility deteriorate in the future.

2. A location close to their children and grandchildren in London with the Home Counties a preference such as Hertfordshire.

3. Two bedrooms.

4. A fair size garden but not too big.

5. A garage.


Bungalows with low maintenance
front garden

Desirable property criteria

1. Chain free would be ideal as this will make the move more straightforward and quicker.

2. Three bedrooms with one with an en suite.

3. PVC double glazed windows.

When properties have new double glazed windows we always recommend that they have trickle vents which help with air circulation in the property.


Double glazed window with trickle vent


Trickle vent

Air movement with trickle vents

Any transferable guarantees with double glazed windows should be gained from the owners as sealed double glazed units can fail; particularly as a result of poor workmanship during installation. Failure of the seal leads to condensation between the two panes of glass and simply replacing the affected units may not provide a satisfactory long-term solution. Generally it is considered that double glazed units have a life of about ten years.

4. Good internal decoration.

To be able to move into a property with very little internal redecoration required would be a bonus but a need to be wary of properties where the current owner has ‘painted to sell' could be a way of them trying to hide latent defects. Another good reason why having an independent Surveyor carry out a residential building survey on your behalf prior to committing to purchase.


Other surveying articles that may be of interest

The following articles may be of interest to you, but don't forget that we have written articles on many different areas of property:


Why have a residential survey?
Structural survey. what does a Surveyor do?

Bungalows are ideal

As independent Surveyors we have carried out many surveys on bungalows which are very popular when couples or individuals decide to downsize. A property search for bungalow can take some time as with any property to find the ideal property which meets most of your essential criteria and if lucky some of your desirable criteria.

A three bedroom 1930s semi-detached bungalow in Middlesex set in an area of similar properties as well as houses with the front garden given over to off road parking and in good internal decorative order after viewing was decided to be an ideal property to downsize to. We were delighted to help with a full structural survey on the shortlisted property whereby the property in its entirety is scrutinised for any structural issues.

Our building survey is essential

An Independent Building Surveyor is completely impartial and does not work for banks, building societies, or any form of mortgage lender. A building survey that we carry out means that any problems or issues with the property will be found and the sellers can either decide to rectify some or all of these issues before the sale of the property or adjust the sale price accordingly.

Always meet your Surveyor at the property

When you enlist the help of an independent Surveyor to help you with your decision to buy or not to buy a property we always recommend that you take the time to go along to the property to meet the Surveyor. A meeting with the Surveyor can help as you can talk to them about any property issues as well as pointing out your concerns and aspirations for the property.

As Surveyors we can help and advise on any future plans to extend or amend a property as we have experience of property development.


Tap test

We often meet our clients at properties and have found some clients very enthusiastic even climbing into the roof space to help hold a torch when we are inspecting roof timbers and running taps in different rooms when we are viewing the drainage. When carrying out structural surveys we are always happy to see our clients as the decision to purchase a property is such an important and costly one it is always good to talk through any property issues face to face.


Looking at drainage

Cash property purchase

A cash purchase of a property is always a good situation to be in as this will help to speed up the process of purchasing a new home as you will not be dependent upon a mortgage lender. The decision is of course an important choice parting with your life savings for a dream property so a structural survey is essential to make sure that the property is structurally sound and there are no hidden property issues.


Buying properties near stamp duty levels

The bungalow was valued close to stamp duty level which is often a tactic when selling a property to encourage a sale. We find that often prices are drawn to stamp duty level rather than being what the actual property is worth so to have an independent Surveyor help to make sure you are buying property for the right price rather than to the nearest stamp duty level is important.

Roof issues

The structural survey of the bungalow highlighted the property had issues with its roof which in the future would be costly. The roof was the original roof without a protective underlayer. Without a protective underlayer wind driven rain can get into the structure although the majority of the time this may not be an issue it is a concern.

Protective underlayer

Protective Underlayer

In the case of the bungalow there was some movement noted to the roof tiles which combined with the lack of protective underlayer will mean that dampness is an issue.

Re-roofing is a costly expense and a reduction on the asking price was sought due to this issue along with other property issues.


Paper underneath tile showing
tiles are opening up

Independent Building Surveyors

We are experienced independent building Surveyors who are knowledgeable in carrying out structural surveys on all types, styles and eras of buildings. If you are looking to buy or sell a bungalow or house or flat it makes sense to have a structural survey carried out by an Independent Surveyor. Phone us for a friendly chat on 0800 298 5424.

Compare our website and compare our surveys

Please feel free to have a look at our website to see for yourself the quality of our website, articles and our Building Survey reports. We pride ourselves on our professional standard and easy to read reports which we have been carrying out for many years on every age, type and style of property across the UK.

We can email you examples of our building surveys

If you are thinking of buying a property and are interested in having a Structural Survey carried out or if you are trying to sell a property and would like a Pre-Sales Survey please call us on free phone us for a friendly chat on 0800 298 5424. We would be happy to email you several examples of our tailor made reports.

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