When you’re buying a thatched property, whether it’s a cottage, farmhouse or manor house, there are certain considerations to bear in mind. To help you in your quest to find the ideal home, we have compiled seven suggestions on what to look out for when buying a thatched property.
1. Thatch: the facts
Get the thatched roof checked by a professional thatcher. They should be able to give you an approximate breakdown of any repairs needed now or in the next few years. You could get recommendations from neighbours or visit Thatch Advice Centre to find a professional thatcher.
2. Stay switched on
Arrange to have a full electrical inspection made alongside your property survey for the mortgage valuation. Electrical circuits will need to be checked at least once every ten years by a qualified electrician.1
3. Check the chimney
The chimney and flue must have the correct liner, insulation and brickwork; a registered chimney engineer will be able to advise on this. In addition, the insurance provider will have a set of criteria around how often the chimney needs to be swept. Usually this is twice a year or more if the wood burner or open fire is used regularly.
4. Is your property listed?
According to Historic England, there may be around 500,000 properties on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) – the listed property register for all listed buildings in Britain.2 If you’re not sure whether the property you’re interested in buying is listed, you can check on the Historic England listed property register.
5. Tracing repairs and renovations
Sometimes a listed thatched property has been renovated or updated by the former owners. If the appropriate building consent hasn’t been given you could be liable for reversing unauthorised changes previously made. Some insurance policies can cover you for changes that may need to be rectified, so it’s worth considering whether you could benefit from this type of cover.
6. Get professional help
Get the help of a qualified surveyor – ideally a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) who specialises in building surveys for period buildings. They can advise on the condition and construction of the property, whilst taking into consideration the fact that older buildings differ from newer properties.
To help avoid under insurance, it is also important to ask your surveyor for an accurate rebuild cost of the property including all outbuildings as most thatch insurers will need this figure from you.
7. Look out for potential damp issues
Look out for any damp patches on the walls or a musty atmosphere in the house. A good surveyor will be able to advise on whether the house has a damp problem, what the underlying cause is, and how it could be improved on or eliminated.
Insuring your property can be crucial for protection against the unexpected. Thatched property insurance can be a complex process, so it’s worth talking to an expert who can help you obtain appropriate cover.
If you’d like a quote for a new policy, or assistance with your existing one please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team of experts.
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