If you write into a Google search engine, ‘how much does damp devalue a house?’, you’ll get a range of different answers between 10 and 53 per cent. The variables take into account the spread of the damp, how long it has been left to worsen, the provenance of that damp, and how much it has affected the infrastructure of the property itself.
There is a myriad of different ways in which a property can develop damp issues. From occasional flooding through basement walls to plumbing and drainage issues, condensation, rising damp, to wet and dry rot, any kind of water ingress, if left untreated, will cause significant and expensive damage.
Taking a tour of a property, from the basement to the attic, you need to be looking for the following signs of damp problems in a house.
Going down into a basement, you will be able to sense any damp problems immediately, before even reaching the bottom of the stairs, due to the damp air and mouldy smell. Are there tide marks around the walls, indicating the ebb and flow of flood water? Is the basement currently used for storage with shelving built high off the floor level to avoid anything getting potentially wet?
Basements in older properties are particularly prone to flooding if there has been significant building or road works in the near vicinity, which has altered the flow of rainwater.
Moving up to the ground floor, you can spot signs of damp from discolouration on external walls if there is a problem with condensation both on the windows or on the walls. Does the property have timber window frames that are soft to the touch? Are there signs of black mould or fungal growth creeping around the window frames?
On the upper floors, check for further evidence of damp and mould around external points in each room, such as on chimney breasts and around window frames. Check ceilings for signs of water coming through from the attic space. And in the attic, check the roof joists and water tanks.
Once you have understood where the damp is coming from, you can better assess the potential cost of fixing the problem. Whether the property needs a simple damp proofing treatment, fixing a simple section of guttering, mending a broken dripping tap, or a full-on basement tanking solution - the ultimate cause will have a significant effect on the final bill, which in turn will have an impact on the potential value of the property as a whole.
If you are a seller, it is important to decide what to do about damp problems in a house to ensure that you get the best possible price for your property.
It is vital that you do not try and mask any of the damp. Your buyer will be carrying out a survey, and any surveyor will sniff out a damp issue from 100 yards! Instead, get your own damp survey done, and get yourself informed about what needs to be done and the costs involved. Armed with this information, you can make a decision. That decision is:
The most important element of this approach is to understand how much a damp problem could devalue your house and to mitigate any potential points of negotiation by having as much information at your fingertips as possible.
At Garratt’s, all of our guarantees are made to the name of your property. This means that they are automatically transferable in the event of resale. This will also save you the cost of any additional charges or administrative assistance upon selling your home.
If you are looking to buy a ‘do-er upper,’ then any damp problems in a house may not be off-putting but can give you some negotiating power over the value of the property. Having a good grasp of the nature of the problems and an average cost to remedy the issues will be vital during the negotiation process.
If you are a cash buyer, then the risk of yours in terms of the price you pay for the property. However, if you are looking to purchase through a mortgage company, then any issues that could affect the overall infrastructure of the property will need serious investigation. It may be that the mortgage company will withhold funds until the issues have been rectified, which would either mean you are making up the shortfall until completed or insisting that the seller completes the works prior to completing the sale. Be prepared for multiple delays and some serious to-ing and fro-ing if this is the case.
Don’t be put off, though - a property with damp problems is not beyond saving, and if you can negotiate a well below market value price that still holds that can increase in value, taking into account the cost of remedial works, then the painful purchase process will have been worth it.
If you have a damp issue that you need to investigate, contact Garratt’s to book an inspection.