I’m a property expert – secret things about your home which are costing you, including not knowing which fence is yours | The Sun

A PROPERTY expert has revealed there’s lots of things you don’t know about your home which might be costing you money.

Michael Holden, a chartered surveyor, weighed in on all the points of confusion surrounding homes – including how much DIY is too much and a pesky plant which may make your house unsellable.

Michael works with Propertymark, a housing sector regulator that makes sure estate agents abide by a strict ethical code.

Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, Michael shared his tips which could save you a heap of money and make sure you go into your next property issue clued up.

Your DIY projects

Thanks to the rise of DIY in lockdown, thousands of Brits have learnt new skills to keep their home on trend.

But not many are aware that their work might be non-compliant and defy building regulations surrounding their homes.

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This can cost up to thousands when it comes to sell your home, so it's best to check in with your mortgage provider before getting too happy with the hammer.

"Non-compliance with building regulations can cause difficulties at the point of sale," Michael said. "And these are often only discovered by a chartered surveyor or during the conveyancing process."

Not treating damp early

It might just seem like small area of damp that you're hoping will clear up when it gets sunny again, but it could cost you in the long run.

It's best to seek expert advice and get damp fixed early, particularly before it escalates to mould.

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"This is a very controversial area, especially following the tragic case of the young child who died of pneumonia following his exposure to mould," Michael said.

"The employment of a suitably qualified expert on dampness is essential as it can prevent health issues and limit potential backlash at the point of sale."

Japanese Knotweed

Being ignorant about whether you have Japanese Knotweed could get you sued, as Michael revealed happened to one homeowner recently.

It's a fast-growing weed – adding up to four inches of height a day in summer – which was imported into the UK as an ornamental plant.

"Some property valuers suggest that this can impact the resale value of a property by up to 15% but as with everything, each situation will be different," Michael said.

The roots can undermine walls and foundations, duly making selling your house impossible.

Spray foam insulation

Spray foam insultation is injected into walls, attic surfaces and floors with a gun to stop draft getting in – but Michael described it as a "hot potato".

"Some mortgage lenders have refused to lend on properties that have had spray foam insulation installed," he said.

"If you own a listed building, then it is possible that enforcement action could be taken on the owner who will then be responsible for putting things back to the original state."

He advised checking whether this is something you have and to discuss your options on whether you need to get rid of it with a professional.

The dreaded fence debate

Fences straddling two properties can cause issues between otherwise friendly neighbours.

Who fixes it if a storm blows it down? Whose job is it to keep it looking fresh?

If the "good side" faces into your garden, it’s usually yours – but this isn't always the case.

You should check the deeds and title plan of your property if you're a homeowner, or ask your landlord.

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These documents show the legal ownership of the property and the general position of its boundaries.

Knowing which side of the fence is actually yours could save you a fortune in fence repairs after a nasty storm.

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