Drive Out Damp, Drive Up Your House Value

Drive Out Damp, Drive Up Your House Value
  • Opening Intro -

    In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re currently recovering from one of the biggest ever financial meltdowns and getting a mortgage is like negotiating your way through an Indiana Jones-style obstacle course (complete with rolling boulders and poison darts).

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Banks and building societies have to vet every penny we spend before they deign to lend us the money to put a roof over our heads. They also want to make sure that every brick that’s bought is as sound and dry as possible.

Way back in the boom years, a bit of damp was no biggie – you got your 100 per cent mortgage, shifted your boxes in and worried about that mouldy patch in the corner later. Now, dampness and dodgy timber are among the top five priorities of surveyors, as mortgage providers want to hear from damp-proofing and timber experts that the property is OK.

Most houses in the UK (and in some areas of the US) have a physical damp proofing course built into them – either a horizontal layer of slate, or sheets of bitumen-impregnated hessian. Over the decades, however, these layers can fail, letting dampness in, typically into just one area of the building, but just one area is enough to cause unsightly mouldy patches. Prolonged exposure to dampness and mould spores can lead to various health problems, and can exacerbate conditions like asthma, especially in children. You don’t want to live in a house like that, and almost no-one is going to want to buy a house that could make them, or their children, ill.

If your house has a dampness problem, regardless of the cause, what tends to happen is that any buyer interested in it is going to see the words “damp”, “rot”, and so on, and is going to ask for a significant reduction in price, or is going to pull out of the deal altogether. This is why you need to get in there first and get an independent survey done – by someone not on an estate agent’s list of chums – that gives an objective and detailed report on any damp or timber problems that there may be.

If there is an issue to be dealt with, the best way to get around it and come out on top is to take action before you even hit the market. Investing in a damp proofing course – and showing this to estate agents and buyers – means you’ll avoid any disruption to your house sale. You may even be able to get a better price for your house, as buyers will be attracted by the fact that their new home has recently been treated and will be safe from damp for at least two decades.

If your house has no physical damp proofing, or if an existing course has failed, your best option is a damp proofing injection. Replacing or installing a physical damp proofing layer is expensive and drawn-out, so an injection is quicker and cheaper. The injection puts a layer of silicone directly into the mortar bed, and is guaranteed for 30 years.

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