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Pre-Georgian Property Survey

(Last Updated: 12/12/2023)
3 min read
Pre-Georgian properties are traditional English homes which were built in the 17th Century, after the Tudor period (ended 1601). They are a rarity and are mostly found in rural areas.

Pre-Georgian Home with thatched roof.

What do Pre-Georgian properties look like?

These homes have frequently been described as ‘chocolate box’ homes because they are pretty and compact. They are characterised by generally being small, with low ceilings and most often a thick thatched roof. Stairwells are tight. They have open window seats and normally have a hearty, welcoming fireplace.

What issues are associated with Pre-Georgian properties?

Issues are mainly associated with how long ago these properties were built, including degradation of materials and the fact that certain architectural improvements were not practised at the time of building and so these features have been added subsequently later, and perhaps with less than satisfactory workmanship.

  • 1Chimney

You can often find weathering of the pointing to the chimneys, ridge tiles and perimeter.

  • 2Flashing

Flashings are often replaced with a cement wedge, where it is advisable, if possible, to return it to its original lead material.

  • 3Rooves
Flint and brick property from early 17th Century

Thatched roofs require regular maintenance.

  • 4Walls

These vary enormously and often have been refurbished, using bricks, for example. Original stone builds may last well, but pointing may be an issue, and settlement may make lines crooked.

  • 5Damp Proof Course

Damp proof courses were not commonly laid until the 1770s, after this period so they will have been added during periodic improvements of these properties. Bad workmanship in particular, can mean rising damp problems.

  • 6Window problems

Lintels and frames can rot over the years, and replacements may be subject to fault.

  • 7Floors and foundations

Foundations are often absent. Combining this with inadequate drainage and faulty pipes can mean properties are subject to subsidence, which will be exacerbated in areas of predominantly clay soil. If you are thinking of buying a property built in this era, if you instruct a chartered surveyor to carry out a home buyers survey for you, they may recommend you get a structural engineer to carry out a subsidence survey.

The original build may not have had any dedicated drainage features or, at best, very primitive ones. More than likely, drainage systems have been added over time, with refurbishments. These often degrade, even if they were well enough built in the first place.

  • 8Lath and plaster ceiling issues

Problems can arise because original ceiling work is constructed of lath and plaster but refurbished sections may be of plasterboard. Where these combine, there can be cracking.&

  • 9Sub-standard refurbishment work

While a property may have been very well-built originally, subsequent refurbishments may not be and may contribute to many issues. Therefore, We always advise that you instruct a skilled, experienced RICS surveyor to examine these properties for soundness if you are considering buying one.

16% of homeowners discover defects

In our recent survey, 16% of homeowners found defects; including 2% who were able to pull out of a bad purchase, 7% who were able to negotiate a better price, and sadly, 7% of homeowners who did not get a survey and discovered defects after the purchase.

12 of the 39 who remembered how much these defects cost to remedy spent over £5,000

Don't burn your money, book a survey.

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What sort of home buyers survey would this property require?

Given the age of these properties and the materials involved, if you are considering buying one, you would be strongly advised to instruct a chartered surveyor to carry out a Building Survey or Full Structural Survey.

Depending on their findings,

Your building surveyor may also recommend getting a timber survey and a thatched roof survey. Thatched roofs demand a lot of love, needing repairs and maintenance and replacement every 30-50 years.

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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