When we buy a property, we’ll need to view it in order to assess it and the area where it’s based. This enables us to find out if the property has any defects or if the area may be of concern i.e. if it is in a former mining area, if it is a flood risk, if there are any wind turbines or landfill sites nearby etc and we then make an offer based on these findings.
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Initially we send out one of our acquisitions managers who will have a look around the property and take some photos. If both parties want to proceed we commission a RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) report where a surveyor will thoroughly inspect the property and comment on any issues they find.
The acquisitions manager and the surveyor will take the construction of the property into consideration when valuing the property and assessing any risk factors. In this post we will look at the different types of property constructions currently in the UK.
In Britain, the majority of houses, bungalows and low-rise flats are brick or block wall construction. They will usually have a sloping roof and will either have solid or cavity walls, depending on the era they were built – solid from 1800s to 1950 and cavity from 1935 to now.
Anything other than a brick or block wall construction is defined as ‘non-traditional’. These include metal framed, pre-cast concrete, in-situ concrete and timber framed properties.
There are around 140,000 metal framed houses in the UK and a number of aluminium framed ones. The majority were built after the Second World War when rapid re-building was required. They are, however, made to look like standard houses with finishes of brick, render or imitation brick and many of them are so convincing that a specialist eye would be needed to discover that they are actually metal framed.
One way to find out if the house is metal framed is to look in the roof space. There will usually be unlined sheathed metal framing or metal stud framing, lined with plasterboard. These types of constructions can be difficult and costly to insure because they are expensive to fix if anything goes wrong. They are also not very flame resistant and can warp, which affects the entire structure.
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Around 284,000 houses in the UK have concrete panels as their main wall structure. These were built throughout the 1920s, then again in the ‘50s and ‘60s. There are two types of pre-cast concrete houses – panel and pre-cast.
Panel systems are created in a factory then transported to the building site for construction. If they are used as external walls then they will either look like concrete or will have brick or tile affixed to them to imitate a traditional house. Pre-cast concrete systems are concrete frames with in-fill panels. The panels are usually slotted into the frame and can mostly be found in two-storey properties.
Introduced during the inter-war period in the UK, in-situ walling was intended to keep costs low and construction time down. However, they ended up being more costly than traditional builds. The most well-known buildings with in-situ concrete were the Wimpey homes built between the 1940s and 1970s. Wimpey and similar 'pre-fabricated' porperties can be difficult to insure because they are susceptible to damage.
Houses with timber frames generally have cladding on the outside that protects the property from the elements, as well as making them look more appealing. From around 1920 to the late ‘70s approximately 108,000 timber framed houses were built for the UK public sector. In the ‘80s brick and block constructions became more popular, until the ‘90s when timber frames made a come-back once more.
Recognising whether your property is timber framed or not depends on when it was built. Pre-WWII houses were mostly clad with timber as well as the structure being built from it. However, post-war constructions were clad with bricks that made them appear to look more traditional. There will usually be indicators somewhere within the property as to whether it is a timber frame or not and a specialist will be able to work this out. It is worth noting that a lot of insurers will view timber-framed houses as complex, 'non-standard' properties that could be a fire risk and, as such, they may increase their prices.
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How we can help
If you want to sell your property quickly then we can help. Because we are cash buyers, we can work to a timescale that suits you and we’ll always include legal fees. We can’t offer you the full price, but we will offer you a fair price, based on the factors mentioned in this post. Get in touch today to find out more.