Unusual Discoveries When Carrying Out a Property Survey

By James Brook FRICS on and updated on

When you book in your survey, you may be expecting a report to come back highlighting some minor issues, maybe a bit of damp or the need for a new garden fence, but some potential buyers have discovered a lot more than they were banking on. From animal bones (or worse, live animals!) to dangerously botched plumbing and electrical work, here are a few of those weird and wonderful discoveries that will make you even more pleased you opted for a thorough survey.

Where the surprises hide

Just like in a horror movie, the worst surprises can often be found hidden away in those creepy corners, such as lofts, basements and outbuildings. And often, they involve non-human species. Thankfully this doesn’t tend to be ghosts and ghouls but animal remains or active infestations.

The ship rat, roof rat, or house rat peeps out of a hole in the roof

Surveys have been known to discover the remains of forgotten family pets or less welcome intruders such as bats or mice. Unfortunately, their living relatives can also be uncovered during a survey, with infestations a surprisingly common find. Mice, rats, ants, woodworm and more can all be discovered when you know the tell-tale signs, even if the current owners don’t realise they have a problem.

Other surprising finds often revolve around those owners who are fans of DIY or who have been unfortunate enough to employ less than reputable tradespeople. From pipes held together by cellophane and toilets not connected to waste pipes to faulty fuse boxes and mains cables joined together by tape, surveys can discover some truly worrying ‘fixes’ that are simply unsafe to live with.

Indeed, when looking to buy a house, it can be easy to get distracted by a carefully placed picture or clever lighting that disguises those less appealing aspects of the property. Having a professional who looks beyond this and actively knows the hidden signs to look out for can be invaluable in making sure you go into a purchase armed with all the information you need.

The strangest things found when moving into a new home

Of course, if you don’t have a survey, there’s a chance that an unwelcome surprise will be waiting for you when it comes to moving in day. So, what should you prepare for just in case? When Leeds Building Society asked its members to recall some of the weirdest things they’d found when moving into a new home, the responses varied from the highly dangerous, such as oil barrels in the loft, and the ridiculous, including coffins and a unicycle. To the amazing, one homeowner claimed to have found a secret room behind the bookcase, while another discovered the name of every person who built the house 100 years ago etched into the wall when they removed the layers of wallpaper.

What is more likely to be discovered by a survey?

Thankfully, unpleasant findings are pretty rare among house surveys, but several things do frequently crop up that can have a major impact on how much you’ll love living in your new home. This could be anything from damp to dry rot and subsidence to structural issues. To find out more about the most common issues uncovered by property surveys, read our blog.

The Novello Approach

Whether your potential home contains these more common issues or something completely different, you can be sure we’ll uncover it with our comprehensive, accurate and personalised surveying services.

Novello offers a wide range of surveys, including HomeLevel Reports and specialist roof surveys. But for peace of mind, we recommend buyers use our highly detailed Building Survey, which includes photos of defects, detailed identifications and pragmatic repair advice, and will help you see a property behind the scenes.

In fact, for those older and extended properties that are more likely to be hiding a surprise or two, a full Building Survey is essential. Not only will our RICS qualified surveyor inspect all visible areas, but they’ll also utilise technology such as pole cams to reach those hard to see areas. This can help you to identify hidden defects before you complete, saving you time and money and helping you avoid those nasty surprises.

It’s essential to have an accurate, impartial expert assess a property’s true condition before you invest your money into it. With Novello’s Building Surveys, you’ll get just that from an honest, transparent and responsive company that has seen it all!

To find out more, contact us or request a quote today.

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