As you know I absolutely love old houses. The charm, character and details are something that you struggle to recreate in a newer property. Yet buying a period property can be a daunting process. Damp, damming building surveys and finding asbestos in your period property, can put a serious downer on buying the home you’ve fallen in love with.

When we first bought our house, an Edwardian property from around 1910, it was a condition of the mortgage offer that we have a building survey. Obviously this is something we would have wanted to undertake anyway, to rule out any serious potential problems that would cost a lot of money to fix later down the line.

Terrifying building surveys

When we received the results of the building survey we were shocked. I’m not actually joking when I say pretty much everything that could be wrong with a house was listed in the building report. It was a very, very long list dotted with terrifying words like… leaking, damp, woodworm, asbestos. Initially reading through the report made our hearts ache, how could we take on this sinking ship?

After a stiff drink we decided to calmly read the report again. It seemed that rather than clarifying that the house had all these issues, the company who carried out the survey had basically created a list of all the things that ‘could’ be wrong with a period property, to cover themselves. Sure the house could have rising damp (but it doesn’t), it could have a leaking roof (but it doesn’t) and it could have woodworm (again, it definitely doesn’t!).

There are plenty of issues that could have potentially been wrong with the house. But none of the problems flagged up were actual problems present in OUR house. All apart from asbestos.

Finding asbestos in your period property

We had heard of asbestos. It’s a type of insulation that was used in construction throughout the 20th century until it was eventually banned in 1999. It was discovered that inhalation of asbestos fibres could cause serious and potentially fatal health issues such as lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.¬†For more information about asbestos and asbestos related illnesses please visit¬†http://www.yourlegalfriend.com

It wasn’t something we were going to leave to chance. We’d heard of people removing the asbestos themselves, burying it in the garden and such stories. With small children it was just not something we were prepared to risk.

We got an expert asbestos removal company to come, before we moved in, and assess the house. They also identified a few places where asbestos was lurking. These were mainly in the outbuildings (like the garage roof), which is very common. We booked in a removal date and the team came and removed the asbestos, taking it with them to dispose of correctly.

We moved in about a month later, knowing that there were no nasty surprises waiting for us. Well apart from twenty layers of wallpaper and small spider armies!

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