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Party walls are an important aspect to consider when buying a new property. You’ll need to know if you share any walls, fences or boundaries with the neighbours, and whether they’ve got any plans to build before you move in.

A building survey can tell you everything you need to know about party walls, but we’ve made a good start on the topic for you here.

A survey will tell you if your new property has a party wall

When you buy a new property, it’s important to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting for your money before you sign on the dotted line. Not that a party wall is bad in itself, but if you buy the property and find out later that your neighbours are already planning an extension which will affect your new semi-detached home, it’s too late to really do anything about it.

A survey will let you know of any party wall agreements, potential issues or planned works which will affect your property after the move in.

A party wall agreement covers you and your neighbour

If you or your neighbour do decide to extend or change the structure of your property, a party wall agreement will cover you both for any potential damage which may be caused by the building works. Your surveyor will be able to tell you of any structural problems that may affect your new extension, and they will also go around and speak with your neighbours and get a party wall award before starting any work to avoid any unwanted disputes.

You’ll need an award if you want to extend

If you’re planning on extending your new property, you’ll need to find out the status of any existing awards. Say for instance you plan to put a basement on your new home and you don’t bother with getting a survey before you buy, you might find that the previous owners tried to get planning permission and failed, or you might go ahead and not know that you needed a party wall award, leaving you viable for huge damage costs (and very unhappy neighbours!) if anything were to go wrong with the building.

Your neighbour might already have a party wall award

The last thing you want after moving into your new home, is for the neighbours to start immediately building an extension. This is a great reason why a building survey is hugely important before you buy any property. A building survey will tell you if there are any existing party wall agreements in place, and keep you from finding out the hard way – when the diggers start taking up the garden at 8am!

To talk to one of our party wall experts please contact us or read our party wall FAQ’s