Traditional Family Property in South London

This property, a traditional family dwelling had been on the market for some time but was not selling and continually failing mortgage surveys.

Structural Engineers GENERAL MOVEMENT Report, South London

The problem

This property, a traditional family dwelling in South London had been on the market for some time but was not selling and continually failing mortgage surveys.

The owner and estate agent were surprised that the house was not finding interest with the public as they considered the house to be an excellent buy for someone prepared to refurbish a property from top to bottom.

The house had remained in the same family for more than 50 years and had not been decorated for almost as long. It was very tired with an aging kitchen and bathrooms and would clearly be gutted by any new owner. The decoration was in poor condition and there were lots of “plaster cracks” throughout the house in both walls and ceilings. There were also some cracks externally but nothing considered to be serious and the owner had patch repaired them from time to time albeit rather crudely.

Various Chartered Surveyors acting for buyers condemned the property and recommended their buyer clients should not buy the property. A cash buyer eventually made an offer at more than £100,000 below the asking price.

The Solution

POLE STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS were contacted by the estate agent, who was aware of our reputation as one of the few firms specialising in Structural Engineers Reports in London and had been in practice for many years.

We were asked to prepare a Structural Engineers General Movement Report to inform the owner and estate agent so that:

  1. the owner would know whether to undertake significant repairs
  2. the owner may make an insurance claim
  3. the owner and agent could share our report with prospective buyers.

On inspection of the property we found it to be extremely tired, but we do not concern ourselves with cosmetic aspects and we were able to assess the underlying skeleton structure in the same way as we would any property.

We found a number of large cracks in the roof space, large enough to put one’s fingers into the crack. We were satisfied that this was historic damage, probably bomb damage; which invariably never gets repaired. Other cracks were almost entirely inside the property only, and did not marry up with corresponding cracks on the outside walls. So, we were satisfied these were normal “plaster cracks” commensurate with old age, poor plastering and historic water ingress problems. There were some signs of historic cracking which required a proper structural repair costing around £5,000 but this was a marginal sum in context to the value of the property.

The Result: success!

The owner and agent had received an offer of £100,000 below the asking price for the property because of its outward poor condition. However, with our Structural Engineer’s Report, they were able to prove the building’s condition would only require essential repairs to a minor structural defect at an estimated cost of £5,000.

Our Structural Engineer’s Report was shown to the buyer and formally assigned to them with an additional fee to cover increased responsibility/liability. On the basis of the report, a new figure was negotiated at just £15,000 below the asking price to reflect the repair work that needed doing, and a sale was agreed upon.

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