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Should I buy a house with extension built over sewer pipe?


ewa hall

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Hello everyone,

 

I'm in the process of buying my first BTL house and I encountered a few problems. The house has a rear extension built over a sewer pipe. The extension was built in the 80s and has a planning permission. But there is no build over agreement with water company. I've read that building over a sewer pipe can be a problem, as the extension can cause damage to the pipes if not done properly and in case the pipes need repairing this could be very costly.

 

On the other hand the extension has been there for 30 years and from the building survey there are no visible problems. Also several similar houses on the same street have rear extensions and I imagine they were all built over the pipes that run to the rear of the houses.

 

I am not sure if this is something serious and I should pull out before the exchange and look for a different property. Would that cause problems when I would like to sell the property later on or extend any further?

 

There is one more problem in the house. There is one internal load bearing wall removed in the living room, that does not have planning permission. The vendors said that they bought it without the wall and they didn't even know that a wall was removed there. The surveyor said that he couldn't see if the removal of the wall was done properly, but he also couldn't see any faults in the house that would indicate that it was not done properly (without steel beam). The wall was removed around 10 years ago, so there would be some visual clues if it was not done properly.

 

Could that together with the extension built over sewer pipe be a sign to pull out and not to buy this house?

 

Thank you for any help. This is my first investment property and it is very stressful seeing all those problems and not knowing what to do anymore.

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Maybe borrow a metal detector, maybe just a powerful magnet will do (look in old hard drives for strong magnets).

 

I would expect the surveyor to tell you more about the drain issue with perhaps a retention on the offer if it is serious, but you must ask to be sure, that is what you paid for.

 

Unless there is a discount for the issues, why make someone elses problem yours?

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"If in doubt, there is no doubt."

 

(You don't need to read the rest of this post!)

 

Something I have to learn to do better is to adopt a different mindset when buying a property as an investment vs. buying a place to live in.

 

If you/your family fall in love with a property, then faults can be overlooked or kicked into the long grass to be dealt with later if they ever arise.

Also, you have to live somewhere!

 

That is a very dangerous and potentially expensive mindset to have when buying an investment property.

You don't have to invest anywhere!

If you buy, it has to make financial sense and the cost of the worst case scenario and the likelihood of the worst case scenario have to be factored in.

 

We aren't gambling, we are investing - potentially over a period of decades.

 

Take everything into account that you reasonably can (like a sniper accounts for the wind) or else don't fire the shot!

 

If you don't know the potential cost and the probability of having to pay it, then you can't account for it, then you don't know whether you should make a discounted offer or by how much you should discount it.

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