One of the things that always scares me about property and, to be honest, stopped me from buying properties earlier was my lack of maintenance skills. I knew nothing about the causes of damp, how much windows cost, consumer units, or where to source trade kitchens etc. As for roofing – the costs scared me no end.
As you get more experienced, you do pick up knowledge. But there are still areas where you are always going to be struggling.
For example – damp.
We had a recent example of damp in a downstairs toilet. It had a sealed window and damp between the external wall and ceiling. The original contractor blamed condensation and did some repairs to decor with a £200 bill.
4 months later and the damp returns. He then states we need to have a window that opens, a humidistat extractor and repair the decor…. We’re now quoted £600. Given that tenants rarely open windows, this seemed a waste. But why is there condensation in a toilet? It is rarely used and there is no bath or shower.
When we reviewed this further, looked at the floor-plan on our file, and the video and photo inspections that we keep, we knew that this room was below the upstairs bath. We asked the tenant to investigate and sure enough, once the panel was removed, there were damp floorboards. The issue was the silicone seal around the bath! A £50 repair.
Understanding these issues only comes from experience and trade knowledge. Contractors will be more than happy to do work which is unnecessary if you’re willing to pay for it!
This knowledge is vital – in some areas, especially with damp or mold, you can pay a fortune in doing remedial works which are unnecessary.