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What does 'Settlement Cracks' mean?

Settlement Cracks

This can refer to both new and old properties. With new properties the cracks are only visible inside the property with cracks appearing in the plaster as the block settles. Cracks less than 1-3mm wide are quite normal.

On period properties settlement cracks can be much wider (over 1 cm) and are more often caused by movement. They can be clearly visible on the interior and exterior walls.

Cracks on the exterior walls should be filled to make sure the property does not suffer penetrating damp. Note a large crack on a period property may not be serious as it may relate to movement decades ago. If in doubt ask a structural engineer to have a look.

For more detail see What a Property Survey Really Means.

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How to Really Buy a Property

"... surveyors should never estimate the cost of works; When rising damp, penetrating damp, subsidence, cracking, sagging roofs, bulging walls and all the other frightening things in a surveyor's report might be serious, and when they are not; Why asking the vendor to carry out work is not..."

"... which have not been underpinned The clay beneath the property contracts during a dry summer causing the property to move down. This will cause cracking on the internal plasterwork and external brickwork The clay expands during a wet winter causing the property..."
"... cause cracking on the internal plasterwork and external brickwork The clay expands during a wet winter causing the property to move upwards. This will cause cracking on the internal plasterwork and external brickwork The question is: Is the property moving up and down or is it..."
"... question is: Is the property moving up and down or is it falling over? No matter how wonky the floors or how many cracks in the wall, these are not a guide to the structure. Settlement may have occurred one hundred years ago which have caused the floors to slope. And cracking in the plaster, well that just..."
"... for no good reason, however, is not advisable. If a property has a natural up-down movement that has not affected it over the last few decades caution should be drawn to messing with it. Although it may stabilise your property, if you are in a terrace it will then be out of synch with its neighbours who are still moving. This can cause wall cracking and roof..."
"... it can be too time consuming to check some of the most common work. Let's take an example of penetrating damp found underneath a window which is coming from a crack between the outside brickwork and the window frame. The work to fill in the crack might cost £200 so you would feel confident in asking the vendor to put it right. But he hires a cheap builder who uses low quality materials and provides a receipt confirming the work is done. It may have been done to such a standard that you will have to undo and redo the work yourself at some stage in the near..."

"... get side tracked by these irrelevancies. Feedback from viewings and honest advice are far, far better. The agent knows none of them are particularly effective but they know the vendor thinks they are. In the meantime they crack on with registering active buyers and trying to match them to your property...."

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Author of How to Really Buy a Property

I'm Tim Hill, Author of How to Really Buy a Property. I'm a property buyer, seller, landlord, tenant and I've been an agent in hundreds of transactions. I own a property portfolio across Europe but that doesn't mean I think you should to!

This book is my collective knowledge and experience that I have gained working within the property market of England and Wales for over a decade. I've written it so that you can benefit from what I have learnt whether you are a first time buyer or a budding buy-to-let investor.

There are no gimmicks here and no get rich quick schemes - just practical no nonsense advice so you can buy the property you want at the best price with the least stress.

Download the Free Preview copy right now. I won't be asking for your email so I can bombard your inbox with 'special offers' and 'discounts' because I know most people who read the Free Preview buy the full copy. See for yourself!