10 of the most common house survey problems

If you’re thinking of booking a house survey and are wondering what kinds of ‘problems’ might be revealed, we’re here to help. Forewarned is forearmed and there may be something you can do to resolve issues before the surveyor even visits.

We’ve put together a list of the 10 most common house survey problems. Are any of these lurking in your home?

1.    Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibre that was widely used in construction until it was banned in the UK in 1999. It was used for:

  • flooring
  • roofing
  • insulation
  • and sprayed onto ceilings and walls.

Asbestos doesn’t really pose a risk while it is intact but once it’s disturbed or damaged the fibres can be easily inhaled and cause huge health problems. If your property was built pre 2000, there’s a chance you have asbestos lurking and it’s worth finding out.

2.    Structural movement


A certain level of structural movement is not necessarily caused for concern but if there are cracks or distortions, it’s worth investigating. Subsidence, settlement, heave, sway, cracks and bouncy floors are all types of structural movement and something your surveyor will certainly be looking out for.

3.    Damp


Damp is one of the more common survey issues and includes:

  • rising damp
  • penetrating damp
  • condensation damp

It’s likely you can spot damp for yourself so why not have a good look around, including behind furniture and around windows, and see if there’s any action to be taken.

4.    Japanese knotweed and other invasive plants

Fallopia japonica or Japanese knotweed. Branch with green leaves and white flowers

Most people have heard of Japanese knotweed, but it can be extremely difficult to identify. If it’s found close to any of your buildings, you may have serious structural problems. If it spreads to a neighbouring property you might face prosecution. To read more about Japanese knotweed and other invasive plants click here.

5.    Electrical safety issues

Electrical issues are high on the list of common house survey problems. You may be blissfully unaware of how old the wiring is or the potential hazard it may be posing, but it is the surveyor’s job to find out.

6.    Faulty drain pipes/drainage issues

While drainage issues are common, they’re also often easy to remedy. If you know about any problems with the gutters, drainpipes or drainage, you could consider sorting them out and keeping that part of the survey report clear.

7.    Roof issues

When awaiting a report, everyone crosses their fingers that there aren’t house survey roof problems. The idea of issues at the top of the property is naturally concerning and can be expensive. However, while this is in our list of the top 10 most common problems, it’s not all doom and gloom. It may simply be a case of a few missing tiles or something to keep an eye on for the future. As always, it’s better to know about the problem than unknowingly let it get worse.

8.    Woodworm and beetle infestation


Evidence of woodworm can be a minor irritation or a major problem. If the holes/dust discovered are historic then you’re probably in the clear. However, a major infestation in structural beams or the stairs can be very bad news. 

9.    Insulation

Your surveyor may check if you have sufficient insulation in your loft and walls. This is a common issue that is flagged up on surveys and is usually an easy thing to address.

10. Issues with windows

Poorly insulating windows; rotten frames; damp; cloudy double glazing; draughts… there are plenty of things to go wrong with windows which is why they account for many of the common house survey problems seen by surveyors.

Get in touch

Whether you’re selling your home and want to avoid a survey report packed with problems, or you’re buying, and the survey has come back with the issues above, you don’t need to panic. Although the survey issues listed are common and can be irritating, they don’t necessarily spell disaster for your plans. Everything is fixable and it’s certainly worth having all the information you need to make informed decisions.

If you have got any questions at all or are ready to book a house survey with one of our experienced Chartered Surveyors, please get in touch. Our friendly team will be happy to help.