Historic property
Property Surveys


Most of my growing numbers of clients throughout the country acknowledge that my property survey reports are different from many of the main stream national firms and I’m very pleased to offer a completely unique level of service whereby clients receive a bespoke level of service with the minimum of caveats. The result is that clients are able to commit to a purchase with the benefit of proper and detailed information. My reports are as individual as the properties that I inspect and quite rightly, I ‘m proud to put my name to the reports, hence, surveysbydavidhornsby. More and more clients are appreciating the benefit of specialist advice particularly in relation to historic, period and listed houses that is provided in a report prepared bysurveysbydavidhornsby.



These usually relate to listed buildings but not exclusively so. The reports are much greater in content than merely building surveys applied to older properties. Anyone buying a historic property, as opposed to another type, or style, of property does so because they have a preference for older properties. My reports identify the historic development of the property and how it was originally built and altered throughout, often a number of centuries. By understanding the historic development of a property it easier to work out issues relating to condition and repairing liabilities. In some cases the detective work can indicate that a property may be older than shown on descriptions of listings and in other cases the listings can be shown to be totally inaccurate.

For anyone buying a listed building they need to know about issues relating to the listing as these can have future financial implications as well as the condition of the property. Where repairs are recommended account is taken of the fabric as well as best practice with regard to conservation works. So often buildings are harmed by inappropriate works and materials. Where properties are refurbished for sale purposes the detail may not be apparent on more conventional surveys or on surveys with a limited content. A Historic building Survey is the top of the range survey giving clients informed knowledge and reducing the risk associated with purchase.



For properties which are not listed, I generally describe these as Period Property Surveys reflecting the vast array of different types and styles of houses in the UK together with the various influences on designs and factors which influence methods of construction. These factors can also have an influence on maintenance management of these properties today. Again clients seeking to purchase Victorian, Edwardian, inter and Post war properties do need to know a little more than what can be seen on what I call a “here and now” survey which makes no mention of historic context of the property and the materials use. Although surveysbydavidhornsby mainly covers historic and listed buildings the same level and attention is provided to more modern properties. For example, the 1930's house is a most interesting product as it reflects a new freedom that was found in house building because of the influence of the motor car but also the finance that was available for purchasers to purchase. This resulted in a wave od speculatively developed houses in the urban suburbs and interestingly these are typified by the design and materials used. Sometimes where the developer had cut costs of construction this can have implications on maintenance costs and repairs that may be evident now.



This is by far the most important part of the process of reporting and in my experience the longer the period of time spent on the inspection, the greater is the understanding of the property. Consequently, for Medium sized Country houses and historic farmhouses , inspections can take between 6 to 9 hours to perform. Larger properties can take longer and on large Grade1 listed buildings, the inspection can be undertaken over several days. Needless to say, inspections are never squeezed into a hectic day schedule and clients are assured of a report which is driven by quality right from the initial stages of undertaking the all important inspection.



In order to report in the detail that is required after the inspection, very detailed consideration is given to the various issues found on inspection and often examination of the findings may be cross referenced so that an accurate and worthwhile report is provided. Inevitably, in older properties there will be repairing issues but it is important to make the correct diagnoses of the problem before recommending suitable courses of action. For example, on the slightest sign of dampness recorded on the damp meter, many mortgage values will call for a “specialist” to report on damp and this opens the door for specialist firms to come in and sell a product which in some instances is not really required and probably is not effective. I no longer undertake mortgage valuations but where clients have instructed me in to provide a historic or period building survey with a mortgage valuation undertaken by the lender's valuer, I'm often in discussion with the lenders who may have made recommendations that damp treatment works are undertaken. In many instances the work is not necessary and if undertaken on a historic property could cause harm to the structure.



As a consequence of living in a “compare dot com world” there appears to be a fixation on obtaining the lowest possible quote. This is all well and good if the quality of the service is comparable but there is also a saying “you get what you pay for” and this very much applies to the provision of property surveys. On being engaged it is often said to me that my quoted fees are not the cheapest , but where clients, as a result of my survey report , have been able to negotiate a lower purchase price or have walked away from certain properties exhibiting problems, the value of a good survey and solid advice is priceless. This is very much reflected in the remarks cited on the testimonial page and I do obtain great satisfaction in clients being able to reach the correct decision regarding the property under review.