You could be forgiven for thinking that buying something cheaper is better because it saves you money. But when it comes to buying property, it’s important to remember you're making an investment. 

Research shows that 25% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions come from the built environment. As the UK faces the challenge of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, tenants and buyers are looking for properties with sustainable features. 

In fact, 42% of renters consider the environmental impact of a property before renting, while 82% of buyers said they would be willing to pay more for an energy-efficient property. This means that it’s going to become increasingly difficult to rent out or sell an older, and therefore, cheaper property. Here we look at how and why in 2022, cheaper isn’t always better. 

What is a ‘brown discount’? 

Most homeowners and tenants will be aware of energy performance certificates (EPCs). As the name suggests, an EPC rates how energy efficient a property is. Houses built before 1940 are far less likely to have an EPC rating of C or above. This means they’ll be harder to heat and therefore more expensive to run and more harmful to the environment. 

With the government planning to bring in even more regulations around energy efficiency and sustainability, the demand for these houses is decreasing. Less demand means these properties will usually come on the market for less than a property that’s been built in the last 20 years. 

What about making improvements? 

Of course, making improvements to these properties is an avenue that can be explored if you want to buy cheaper. But unless you’re specifically searching for a project, this can result in a false economy. 

Retrofitting is an option but it’s often expensive. This is the process of updating old systems and introducing new technology to a property to make it more sustainable and energy-efficient. These improvements could include better insulation, efficient lighting, solar panels, heat pumps and more. As you can imagine, the cost of installing these features can soon grow and it looks like there are even more regulations and requirements on the horizon.   

What does the future look like?

As part of the government’s plan to reduce emissions to zero by 2050, it’s highly likely that new legislation will come into play in the coming years. The government’s Future Homes Standard will have a huge impact on the way homes are built from 2025. 

It’s likely we’ll see mandatory hot water storage, significant improvements to insulation and a potential ban on gas boilers. With an estimated 24 million homes in the UK requiring retrofitting to help fight climate change, it’s still difficult to determine what this might mean for owners of older properties. 

The increasing cost of living will make it difficult for homeowners to find the extra cash to carry out the improvements to future-proof their homes. The question on everyone’s lips is: what kind of support will the government provide to help reach these goals? 

Whether your top priority is finding a property that’s already sustainable or you’re in the market for a doer-upper, we’re on hand to help you with a survey you can trust. Talk to us today. 

With house prices rising by approximately 10% every year, it’s becoming more difficult than ever to buy a home. Don’t despair - if you’re ready to take the leap, we’re here to make things as easy as possible for you. 

Looking to climb the property ladder? Here are five key steps to take. 

Check your credit score

A higher credit score increases your chances of approval for a mortgage, and one with a lower interest rate. You can easily check your credit score free of charge with the UK’s credit agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion

If it’s lower than you’d like, here are some things you can do to improve it: 

Get a house valuation

If you’re moving out of a property that you own, you’ll want to make sure you get the best possible selling price. A price tag that’s too low won’t just impact you financially, it could also leave buyers concerned that your house has hidden faults. On the other hand, a price that’s too high could lead to a lack of interested buyers. 

A property valuation will help you to know whether you’re selling for the right price. It’ll also help you see if your new property is a good investment for the future.

Make the most of government incentives

If you’re looking to buy a house, there are a range of UK government schemes that could help you. These include:

Lifetime ISA - deposit up to £4000 a year and the government will add a 25% bonus. This money can go towards buying a property worth £450,000 or less. 

Help to Buy equity loan - if you’re a first-time buyer purchasing a new build, you can borrow a loan to cover between 5% - 40% of the cost, depending on price and location.

Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme - lenders involved in this scheme are offering 95% mortgages, allowing buyers to pay a much smaller deposit to secure a mortgage. 

Don’t rush into a mortgage deal

It goes without saying that you’ll want the best possible deal for your mortgage. That’s why it’s so important to think about the long term. Do you anticipate your life circumstances changing in the next few years? This will all impact what kind of mortgage product you end up deciding on. 

If you’re unsure where to start, a mortgage broker could help you find the best deal. 

Have your house surveyed

When it comes to buying a new house, it’s important not to rush into decisions. As ideal as the property might seem, hidden faults and problems could cause you grief further down the line. 

A property survey will unveil any potential issues that would otherwise go unnoticed. With this information under your belt, you'll also be in a much better place to negotiate your mortgage. 

At Boultons Chartered Surveyors, we’re here to equip you with all the information you need to buy your future home. If you’re ever unsure where to start, we’re always on hand to discuss your options. 
Contact us today to book a property valuation or survey.

When you’re buying a new house, there’s a lot to consider. Whether or not you’re expecting to put time and money into renovating your property, you don’t want any unexpected surprises to pop up along the way. 

At Boultons Chartered Surveyors, we like to keep things simple, especially when it comes to evaluating a property. Here are five questions to get you started. 

How’s the plumbing? 

When you’re looking around a house, it’s difficult to tell whether the plumbing actually works. Even if your bath, shower and sinks look immaculate, there could be problems hiding under the surface. 

How old is the boiler? There are plenty of ways it could be struggling - from producing worrying noises to taking forever to heat up. If your boiler isn’t functioning well and your water pressure’s too high or low, you’ll soon run into problems. You certainly don’t want it to break down once the cold weather arrives. 

Are there any leaks? These won’t just increase your water bill, but can amount to bigger problems over time. It’s much better to know what you’re dealing with. You can make a more informed decision about whether or not to buy.  

Where’s the insulation?

If your house isn’t properly insulated, this can lead to damp, condensation and higher energy bills. You might be okay with paying the costs of additional insulation, but it’s certainly worth knowing what needs work.

Roughly one-third of heat escapes through outside walls when your home isn’t properly insulated. That’s why it’s really important to check for cavity wall insulation. If it’s not already in place, it can be difficult and pricey to install, setting you up for further expenses down the line. 

We’re all aware of the rising cost of energy. If your new home isn’t properly conserving heat, the price of your new energy bills could be an unwelcome surprise. 

Are there signs of subsidence?

Subsidence is one of the most difficult, time-consuming and costly things to deal with. It’s usually caused by the ground sinking beneath your house, leaving the foundations unstable and damaged. When this sinkage happens at different rates throughout the building, it can cause even more destruction. 

The main sign of subsidence is a wall crack which is wider than 3mm. It will be visible on both sides of a wall, especially where different parts of the house are joined together. 

Whilst subsidence can be monitored and its source removed, in some cases, the only option is an incredibly expensive procedure called underpinning. All in all, it’s best avoided. 

How about the garden? 

You might not think to look out for invasive plant species, but they can be a serious headache. 

Japanese knotweed is an extremely fast-growing, invasive plant which can result in serious damage to your house. It causes harm by growing into the structure of the property, destroying everything in its path, such as cables, drainpipes, walls and floors. 

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 dictates that you must control the growth of invasive non-native plants so they don’t spread to other surrounding areas. If you’re unaware of Japanese knotweed, you may have to spend a large sum on getting a specialist to come and deal with the problem.

Are there any safety risks? 

It’s common for sellers to try and mask potential problems, whether with a sneakily placed rug or by failing to mention important issues. And it’s not just about aesthetics - some problems can cause risks to your health and safety. 

A house survey can uncover risks such as damp, asbestos and faults with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. When it comes to your safety, it’s not worth taking shortcuts. 

We know it’s difficult to uncover every piece of damage or risk to a property by yourself. 

At Boultons Chartered Surveyors, we have over twenty years of experience identifying these problems. We’ve got different types of surveys you can access, depending on the age and condition of your property and in just 3-4 working days we’ll have a detailed report ready for you. 

Give us a call and we’ll set you on the right path. 

We're all about keeping things simple and stress-free at Boultons Chartered Surveyors. And part of that means making sure our clients understand the ins and outs of their survey.

There can be a lot of jargon when it comes to a survey. But we're not interested in sounding clever. We're here to keep things straightforward.

That being said, sometimes jargon is inevitable. That's why this week, we're giving a run through of the most commonly used terms you'll hear during a survey.


Asbestos is a mineral, commonly used for insulation between the 50s and 80s. Professionals have since found if you breathe in damaged asbestos, it can be pretty nasty, and even cause some serious lung conditions.

A surveyor will know to look out for asbestos when carrying out the survey. You'll need to get a professional in if you need to deal with any asbestos in your property.


Benching refers to concrete used to fill in the gaps between drainage channels and brickwork. It's always smoothly sloped to stop sewage building up and keep rats or water at bay.

Boundary disputes

Boundary disputes might happen if you disagree with neighbours about where each property begins and ends, especially if there's land involved.

A surveyor can clarify the boundaries before you sign on the dotted line. This helps to avoid disagreements in the future, especially if you're planning to extend the property.

Cavity wall

A cavity wall has two layers of brickwork with a small gap between them. Cavity wall insulation is often needed to stop too much heat escaping through the gap.


Dilapidation refers to the maintenance and repairs a property needs to bring it to its original state, usually in the context of cosmetic damage.

You might have heard things like 'the place was dilapidated' - which usually means it's in a sorry state.


We know, it sounds like a fake word, but it's one to watch out for.

Gazumping is when a seller verbally accepts an offer on a property, but goes back on the agreement if a higher offer is put on the table. This forces the original buyer back into the market.

Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is a fast-growing invasive weed plant. Sellers will need to declare if Japanese knotweed is affecting the property, and take measures to remove it before being able to go ahead with a sale.

The government website offers various ways you can get rid of Japanese knotweed from your home and land. It's important to get the professionals in for this one as knotweed can be massively disruptive.

Party wall

A party wall stands on the land of two or more owners. Essentially, it's a shared property boundary. They might form a part of a building, or be used as an outside wall, like a garden wall. If you want to carry out building work near or on your party wall, you must tell the other owners of the wall.

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a tax you'll have to pay when you purchase a property. The amount will vary depending on its location and value.


Subsidence refers to when the ground underneath the property sinks or compresses, making it unstable.

This would case an unbalanced foundation which could put the property's structural safety at risk. A surveyor would need to look out for this problem to help judge the overall safety and value of the property.


Woodworm is another common problem found in UK properties.

It's a type of beetle found in early spring to mid-autumn, and usually targets homes that use exposed, untreated timber. Because the average home is made up of 70% timber, this gives woodworm plenty of opportunity to sneak their way in.

If you're still unsure or have more questions about your survey, don't hesitate to give us a call. We're here to keep things simple, every step of the way.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram