Buying a one or two bedroom Georgian 

conversion property

which is leasehold or shared freehold

We are experienced in carrying out surveys on one or two bedroom converted properties

Buying a period property such as a Georgian property we believe has many advantages which we will talk about within this article. We also believe that there are some issues that you need to look out for and ways that you can help yourself when buying a Georgian property.

This particular article looks at converted Georgian properties which are properties which were once a large property which has later been converted into several properties.

Have your own independent survey

We are Independent Surveyors that deal with all types of property related work and are happy to help you with property problems. As Surveyors we have not only carried out surveys on Georgian properties we have lived in them too which can give a very unique viewpoint for you when buying a Georgian property.

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Georgian conversion of what was
once a very large house now
divided floor by floor into one or
two bedroom properties

The good, bad and ugly survey

We would also like to introduce to you what we call our good, bad and ugly survey which is a building survey which is sometimes known as a structural survey which we have developed over many years, in fact several decades. We have listened to feedback from our clients and amended and altered our surveys to make them easy to read and describe issues clearly. The key factor we believe is our surveys are easy to understand in plain English but do not take our word for it call us on free phone 0800 298 5424 and ask for an example of one of our surveys to be emailed to you.

We have normally carried out a building survey similar to the property you are considering buying and therefore we can show you an example of the type of structural survey you will be receiving. We would recommend that you do not just book a survey but with whoever you decide to have your independent building survey with you talk to them, receive an example survey as well as meet with the surveyor at the property.

There are various ideas we have developed over the years to make our surveys more readable everything from 16x optical zoom digital photographs next to the problem which show and explain what the problem is to sketches that clarify any issues particularly ones that we cannot photograph but know are present. We have commissioned our own sketches to explain property issues which you will not find with any other Surveyor.

For example this is a Georgian sliding sash window of several types used during the Georgian era used to explain the property that you are looking to buy.

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Rotting sliding sash window

Sash window wet rot

Sliding sash window

What do the red ovals mean?

The red ovals are a system that we used within our structural surveys and building surveys to highlight problem areas so that you are not left wondering what the problem is. In addition to this if the photographs do not we believe explain the problem enough together with our survey report we also add in one of our own sketches such as the example that is shown here.

Caveat emptor

Caveat emptor means buyer beware and is why you need to have a building survey to find out if there are any problems within the property; the estate agent certainly will not advise you of any.

Remember the building Surveyor that you employ will be the only person working for you with your interests at heart.

For some of you this may be the first time you are buying a property

Without doubt buying your first property is a major step and also can feel like a never ending process and a very costly one also. We find most people are of course very enthusiastic at the start of their search for property but often once the reality of fitting house hunting in around a job or children is added into the equation it can become a very frustrating process. We would also add that without doubt most clients say that it is more expensive than they expected.

Know who is on your side

One very important issue to establish is that you do need to know who is on your side and that estate agents are selling properties earning commission on the sales and only get paid when they sell a property. Estate agents have no other reason to help you they are in the business of making money from sales of property. You may believe that this is a very hard statement and that estate agents you are dealing with are helpful.

You do need to remember at all times that estate agents are acting for the seller of the property and not for you even though many estate agents use sales techniques that make it feel like they are acting for you.

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Georgian top flat conversion
front view

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Georgian top flat conversion
rear view

Get your own Independent Building Surveyor

As mentioned we are Independent Building Surveyors and are advertising our services but you do need to remember that if you book us or another Independent Surveyor that we are on your side. Executive Summaries within our building surveys make it very clear what the important issues are, our action required i.e. what you have to do to sort out the problems as well as the anticipated costs are what you need to have highlighted when your are negotiating the sale price. Remember although you have made an offer for the property this was assuming that the property was in average condition for its age, type and style if it is not in average condition it is normal practice to negotiate.

Converted older Georgian properties

With an older property such as a Georgian property you are not only are you taking on an older property you are also taking on a converted older property therefore the quality and standards when the building was originally built are very different to today.

For example today the focus is very much on thermal efficiency in years gone by, particularly in the Georgian era it was very much more the use of natural light which is why Georgian properties have such large windows and they were still waiting for electricity to be invented.

You are also taking on the standards of the conversion to the one or two bedroom property which were carried out during boom years such as the 1970s, 1980s and 2000s. Often conversions were carried out to very different standards and of course it does depend upon the builder or developer.

buying-a-one-or-two-bed-georgian-conversion-property-leasehold-or-shared-freehold_

Georgian converted properties

Remember you are looking at a building several hundred years old

Remember when you are looking at a Georgian building you are looking at living in a building that was built many, many years ago when standards were very different with the latest inventions being drainage and electricity or gas dependent upon the age of the property.

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Earth test We carry out a basic
electric test as part of our survey

Georgian converted properties

This article looks at Georgian conversions that you may see and typical items that Surveyors will spot for you although we do have to say that nothing is as good as getting your own structural survey and meeting your own Surveyor at the property. We are of course promoting our services 1stAssociated.co.uk call us for a friendly chat on 0800 298 5424.

Georgian Conversions

Georgian properties such as the property in the adjacent photograph have been divided floor by floor into several one or two bedroom properties can make great places to live. We particularly like the space and the ceiling heights however there are many factors to consider.

buying-a-one-or-two-bed-georgian-conversion-property-leasehold-or-shared-freehold

Late Georgian terraced buildings
converted into one or two
bedroom properties

Converting buildings to one or two bedroom properties

We believe the original dividing of the property was carried out in the 1960s and has since been upgraded. We also believe that original dividing up of properties can be gauged by when property booms take place for example in the early 1970s many larger properties were split into smaller one or two bedroom properties. This also took place in the 2000s as well when property was booming again and people were buying almost anything with many people wishing to be on the property ladder. Equally at such times of rapid property purchasing and boom times in the property industry good quality building tends to be less important than finishing a job quickly.

Georgian property conversions usually happen in the property boom years

Georgian properties can make great space for one or two bedroom properties as they tend to have higher ceilings than is now the norm and also larger windows making them a very light building.

However we would add that the Georgian one or two bedroom properties that we look at we tend to find particular problems that we would classify as:-

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Large sliding sash windows to
Georgian converted properties

Noise transfer/sound problems

Noise can divide into various different types of noise everything from noisy neighbours to noise transfer that travels through the property. Noise transfer is often the case in older properties as little consideration and thought has been given to this area.

Tiles-on-timber-floor

Tiles on the floor of an upper
floor bathroom can lead to noise
transfer to the one/two
bedroom property below

Meet your Surveyor at the property

When carrying out a building survey on a one or two bedroom property we are always pleased to meet you at the one or two bedroom property as this helps us to explain any problems that we see.

Great features of a Georgian Property

Without us wanting to sound too much like Estate Agents, which we certainly are not, as Surveyors we do find that Georgian properties have certain characteristics and features from the period that make them very pleasant properties to live in.

Georgian properties have large windows

Externally Georgian properties tend to have larger, grander door entrances and large sliding sash windows usually sliding sash windows with a two by six casement panel. Remember that Georgian properties were being built before the electric light bulb had been invented.

wind-chill-factors

Sliding sash window

Having said this, sliding sash windows that have not been maintained can be a problem.

Georgian properties normally faced the best direction giving sunlight but you do need to check the position of the property you are looking at.

Finally without getting into too much detail with sliding sash windows they do come in all sorts of different styles and types.

For example if you look closely at the sketch and the photograph they show two different types of sliding sash window – can you spot the difference?

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Georgian sliding sash window

Georgian construction What secrets does it hold? Roofs

Georgian properties are likely to originally have had a clay tile roof or a slate roof and problems can occur with these roofs over the year's dampness getting in. Georgian design was particularly fond of hiding the roof behind a parapet wall where all sorts of problems can also be hidden. These are common and relatively obvious problems that a building Surveyor should be able to spot.

Box-Parapet-Gutter

Parapet wall and box gutter

We believe that our surveys go above and beyond normal surveys but not only offering you the recommended action required but also give anticipated costs as well as actually getting onto the roof if we can to view any issues.

Tiled roof and parapet wall

Walls

Walls to Georgian properties come in all sorts of styles and sizes with the brick sizes varying as they still did not have a standard size brick in this era. One of the main reasons for brick sizes varying is brick tax.

Flemish bond brickwork

Flemish Bond brickwork

Brick tax general information

Bricks became popular for building smaller houses in the 18 th century with a brick tax coming into force in 1784, increasing in 1794 and again in 1803. The implement of brick tax slowed down the building of properties using bricks but when the tax was later repealed in 1850 bricks became widely used.

Whilst bricks were taxed an alternative was to use a brick tile sometimes known as a mathematical tile.

Walls are likely to be Flemish bond construction with a lime mortar or possibly rendered.

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Flemish Bond brickwork

Windows

We have mentioned previously the large sliding sash windows that Georgian properties tend to have had originally. Sliding sash windows need to be looked at very carefully as problems can occur with them.

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Georgian sliding sash windows

buying-a-one-or-two-bed-georgian-conversion-property-leasehold-or-shared-freehold

Rot to window sill and bare timber
visible

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Bare and rotting timber

Thermal imaging

For those concerned with how much heat is being lost in older properties we use thermal imaging cameras. If you wish us to thermal image your building please advise us by calling us on free phone 0800 298 5424

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Thermal image shows heat
loss (blue) around
window frame

Foundations

Stepped brick foundations are likely.

Stepped brick foundation

Stepped brick foundation

Please see our surveying articles on:-

Why have a residential survey?
Structural survey, what does a Chartered Surveyor do?
What is a Schedule of Condition?
Useful tips for purchasing a buy to rent property

Or call us for a friendly chat it costs nothing to talk to us on

free phone 0800 298 5424

or at the very least take a look around our website

Always make sure when you have a survey your meet your Surveyor at the property.

Watch out for immaculately presented interiors.

Painted to sell?

We use the term painted to sell and often properties can be much more than painting such as plastering over cracks and painting to hide dampness. We have come across furniture strategically positioned to hide defects.

Dampness

Many older properties do suffer from dampness with the dampness ranging from rising damp (although this is nowhere near as common as damp proof companies would have you believe) to lateral dampness often caused by weathering or pointing or indeed wrongly rendered properties which result in properties not being able to breathe.

RisingDamp

Rising damp

Lateral damp

Lateral damp

buying-a-one-or-two-bed-georgian-conversion-property-leasehold-or-shared-freehold

Dampness and old buildings

Probably the most common form of dampness we come across is condensation often occurring at the bottom of properties and being wrongly called rising dampness. The problem is the amount of humidity being caused in the property with everything from cooking to bathing and showering to drying clothes.

Cold bridging / thermal bridging

Condensation in cold areas

Be very careful if you do not come across a property where dampness has been hidden only for it to reappear as soon as the property has been sold. With dampness comes all sorts of issues such as black mould.

If you are interested in having a structural survey on a one/two bedroom property please call us on free phone us for a friendly chat on 0800 298 5424. If you are a landlord please contact us as we would be happy to help you with Schedules of Condition or Structural surveys on blocks of flats.

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Black mould

Call us for an example of a property like yours

Whilst we cannot guarantee it we believe we have carried out surveys on nearly every type of property so contact us on 0800 298 5424 and we are sure that we will be able to send you an example survey of a similar property to the one that you are looking to buy so you can see what you will receive from us before you purchase.

No matter who you commission to carry out your structural survey we always recommend that you go along to the survey to have a chat with the Surveyor.

We would also be happy to email you some examples of our tailor made reports, Schedules of Condition, Structural Surveys and Property Reports. We also find that Specific Defect Reports can be use where there is one problem or issue that needs resolving between the landlord and tenant.

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

The content of the website is for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon for specific or general decisions. Appropriate independent professional advice should be paid for before making such a decision. Free phone 1stAssociated.co.uk on 0800 298 5424

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