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Are You Moving House?


Independent Building Surveyors

This article looks at older properties such as Victorian and Edwardian properties, which can have many problems.  Over the years we have seen movement in Victorian properties as well as dampness and dry rot. building surveyors can carry out full structural surveys to help identify any problems which you can then negotiate to ensure you buy the property at the right price. We also carry out home buyers reports, independent valuations (not for mortgage purposes), property surveys, engineer’s reports, structural reports and defect reports.

late victorian house

Late Victorian terraced properties, circa 1890, full of character but can also have problems

Free phone 0800 298 5424

Moving house – why is it so important for you to move into the right Victorian / Edwardian House?

It is important that you find a chartered building surveyor, who has experience of carrying out surveys on Victorian and Edwardian properties, as they do come in many shapes and sizes, so we always recommend that you ask for an example of a full structural survey from the surveyor, who you are looking to use to find the property problems.

Time and time again when we read articles about buying a house, it comes back to the fact that buying a house is one of the most expensive things, if not THE most expensive thing, that we will ever buy.  It is such an important decision and you need to get it right or as right as possible. You are not only choosing the right property (without any property problems) but you need to also ensure that you get it at the right price.


Mid -terraced Victorian property with sash window



What could possibly go wrong when you buy your new Victorian or Edwardian house?


Location, location, locationroad clipart

It is often said that location, location, location is the most important thing when buying a house. However, we would argue that buying a house without any structural problems is very important, as well as identifying if there are any problems before you buy the property and ensuring you get a discount on the purchase price, so that you have the money to carry out the repair work. 




Most importantly, you need to know about these issues before you buy the property and buy with your eyes wide open to the problems.




Buying an older property

There are many things to consider when buying an older property such as a Victorian property, as they are over 100 years old and are bound to have some problems.


What should you look out for when buying a Victorian or an Edwardian property?

The following section gives you some ideas of the sort of things that you need look out for, but first some pointers as to the features of Victorian or Edwardian houses.

Firstly, a very large part of our housing stock is Victorian or Edwardian.  People say that you can’t beat a Victorian / Edwardian house with their architectural detailing, the large bay windows and the fact that they are generally very light - remember these houses were built before we had electric lights.

vic apartments with bay windows

Victorian apartments, large bay windows


sash windows


Two storey bay window


Chimneys and Fireplaces

They also have features such as fireplaces and chimneys; again they were built before we had central heating and air conditioning. 


Large brick chimney on Victorian property


Also consider that drains were the latest modern convenience when these houses were built.  These really were state of the art when they were built.

Drainage was often push fitted together rather than bonded together which means that they may leak over the years.  We would always recommend you have a closed circuit TV camera report of the drains.

Push fit drain sketch

Push fit drain

If you need a building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, structural surveys, home buyer

All of these features are very old and could have been altered and adapted over the years, such can be problematic.


Just because it’s been modernised doesn’t mean it is better

A common problem we find with Victorian and Edwardian properties is where alterations have been carried out without any thought to how they affect the original building.  A fairly common problem is where plastic windows have been put into replace the original timber windows.  The problem is the original timber windows were structured and the standard plastic windows are not structural.  This means that on a bay window it can cause structural movement.



Plastic window


Plastic window


Other factors with bay windows such as shallow foundations that can exaggerate the problem

Beware of poor quality modifications.

bay window

Bay window

A flavour of what we can do

We just want to do a quick advert for 1stAssociated.  We are building surveyors with lots of experience with older properties and particularly Victorian/Edwardian properties and we hope this article helps you identify problems you should look out for.

If you don’t want to read an article and just want some help on a specific problem or problems, please Freephone us on 0800 298 5424.


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