17 August 2021

5 most common home survey problems and what to do next

If you are purchasing a house and have some concerns about the wellbeing of the building, you have spotted a crack that looks unsettling or a mark on the ceiling that looks like damp, you should consider getting a survey carried out on the property. This is a good opportunity to have a qualified surveyor check that there are no issues that could come back to haunt you in the future. Whilst you may have a specific concern, there is also a significant chance that the surveyor may discover an issue that you or the homeowner were completely unaware of. Here are some of the most common issues that are found during a survey of a house.



Damp is one of the most common defects that a surveyor will find and can present itself in several different ways; Condensation in areas with poor ventilation, rising damp up the walls or penetrating damp due to a leak or structural issue. The implications of different types of damp in your house can range from mould and a nasty odour to costly structural issues if the defect is not dealt with. Fortunately, there are several methods for dealing with damp in your home once it has been identified; Ventilation and dehumidifiers can help with condensation issues and maintaining a constant low or medium temperature can also prevent the damp from forming.

Rising damp may require the instillation of a damp-proof course, which is a material installed into the wall with a membrane that keeps the water from climbing up through your walls. If the damp issue is related to a crack in your roof or a leaky pipe, you may require a qualified professional to fully assess and fix the defect.

Woodworm Infestations

A very common issue found in properties is an infestation of woodworm beetles, which lay eggs and burrow through timber, feeding on the cellulose in the woodwork. An infestation can be identified by small holes in the woodwork, lined by a fine dust or “frass” which is left behind by the beetle as it burrows. This defect can cause damage to your floorboards, skirting or any part of your home that is made of wood, which could end up being costly to replace and can spread throughout the house causing significant damage. Luckily most infestations can be dealt with by a qualified professional with a treatment that will kill off any current infestation and prevent any future recurrences.

Roof Defects

Problems with a roof noted on a survey can be varied, from a few cracked or missing tiles or a cracked guttering, to larger issues that can warrant having the whole roof replaced. Depending on the severity of your roof issue, this could lead to penetrating damp or larger structural issues if not resolved. The price of solving the issue and type of professionals required vary depending on the severity, however, keep in mind that the cost of addressing the issue right away could be far less than the cost of resolving later implications of roof issues.

Defective Pointing

A failure of the pointing on the exterior walls is another common issue found during a survey, especially on older buildings. Defective pointing can lead to damp issues in your home as well as flacking or cracking of the brickwork, referred to as “spalling”. This is often caused by absorption of moisture into the bricks which then expands when the temperature changes rapidly, damaging the brick. This can be prevented by improving drainage around the walls and confirming there are no leaks that allow moisture to enter the brickwork. If the damage is not extensive the brick work may need repointing, but if the damage is more widespread then the bricks may need to be replaced entirely.

Inadequate services

Finally, during a survey, parts of the electricity, gas/oil, water, heating, drainage and other services that can be seen by the surveyor will be checked. Some parts of these services may not be observable during the process, but the surveyor will check for defects where possible, to ensure that everything is working properly and there is no risk of damage or regulation problems. A surveyor will most likely suggest that a professional is consulted to ensure that no defects are present. Faulty boilers or drainage can lead to huge costs for homeowners down the line if they are not dealt with. Issues with services will usually require a qualified professional such as a plumber or electrician to resolve.

When purchasing our exclusive digital Smartr Survey you will get a comprehensive report including any defects found by the surveyor with corresponding images and a link to quotes for recommended repairs directly from your smart app. To find out more about our available reports please contact us here.