Types of damp and how damp can affect a house sale

Posted on: 01st December 2022 | Filled under: How to Sell a House
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Selling a house with damp can have a host of adverse effects, including lowering the sale price 50 per cent or more! Buyers hate the idea of spending a lot of money on a new home, only to discover that it’s riddled with allergy- and asthma-causing mould spores.

Mould or mildew around windows and doors, an unpleasant musty smell, and strange coloured patches on wallpaper and walls are just some of the tell-tale signs of damp in your home.

That’s why it’s so important to get mould treatment before you sell. It’s easy, relatively cheap, and can make the transaction process go through much more smoothly.

In this post, we take a look at some of the different types of damp that you might have in your home, and how they may affect the sale price.

Types of damp

Various types of damp can put off potential buyers when selling your home. Here’s a list of some of the biggest culprits and a description of what they mean:

Rising damp: Rising damp occurs when moisture from the ground gets into the brickwork and starts making its way upwards via a mechanism called capillary action. Moisture sometimes reaches a height of one metre above skirting boards and shows up dark marks on the wall. Usually, you can fix it with a damp-proofing treatment called a damp-proof course.

Penetrating damp: Penetrating damp occurs when water enters through the walls. Usually, it is a guttering problem, but leaky pipes and even driving rain can cause it, too. Homeowners should deal with penetrating damp as soon as possible since it can lead to various types of rot, bacteria building up, and structural damage.

Typical property defects on the outside include

  • Defective roof coverings
  • Poorly maintained rainwater system, gutters, drains and downpipes
  • External vegetation affecting the rainwater system and wall surfaces
  • Cracked or defective render or other external coatings
  • Tired mortar joints and defective pointing
  • Broken masonry or permeable brickwork or stone
  • Defective seals around windows and doors

Condensation-related damp: Homes can also develop damp because of condensation generated by internal sources. If your walls are cold but you generate moisture in the kitchen or bathroom, then it can provide a water source for mould spores to grow and develop, particularly if it remains in place for the majority of the day. Condensation-related dampness usually shows up as droplets on the wall accompanied by an unpleasant musty smell.

Can you sell a home with damp?

According to rules in England and Wales, it is illegal to sell a home with damp without disclosing the issue to potential buyers. If you don’t tell buyers, you can face serious legal consequences.

The reason for this is public health-related. The government wants to prevent people with weak immune systems from unwittingly buying homes and then suffering mould-related symptoms.

The simplest solution is to deal with the damp directly. There are several ways of doing this. Some involve the installation of a chemical that is injected into holes in the masonry to prevent water infiltration. This option is best for situations in which you share a wall with a third party or live in an area with inclement weather conditions.

Another course of action is to install a damp-proof membrane behind the walls. This waterproof material prevents water from moving into your home.

If your damp is purely condensation-related, consider increasing the temperature on your thermostat and installing better, more efficient extractor fans in affected rooms. Raising the temperature of the walls and extracting more moisture should eliminate the problem.

Of course, damp proofing a house can be expensive. It typically costs between £3,000 and £4,000 for a two- to three-bedroom property. Therefore, many people don’t do it.

Selling privately or with estate agents

Even if your house is damp, you can still sell it. However, you may need to lower the price (often more than the cost of repair).

Most regular buyers will walk away immediately once they discover damp. But some, such as landlords, property flippers and home-buying companies may still agree to purchase from you.

Estate agents might work with you, but you may have to accept unfavourable terms. For instance, some agents will brand your home a “problem property” meaning that buyers will expect a bargain.

At the same time, you will still need to accommodate viewings, go through the rigmarole of putting your property on the open market, and pay various fees. You may also have to wait several months for a suitable buyer to come along.


Another option is to go through a property auction. However, damp problems cause valuation experts who work on behalf of mortgage lenders to down-value your home. Therefore, if you are considering selling a property this way, you will have to accept a lower price. You’ll also have to pay the auction house fees (interested in auctioning your property? read my guide on the pros and cons of property auctions)

The best-case scenario is where multiple investors competitively bid for your property, but such instances are unlikely. Auctioneers will make the public aware of the issues with your home, eliminating many prospective buyers from the bidding process.

Go to a home-buying company 

Mark King Properties will not need to complete a survey which means no matter how bad it is it won’t phase him. Once his offer is made to you, he guarantees that figure as long as he is aware of all the issues when he sees the property. His offer is a cash offer and won’t needing a mortgage. This means that the sale will be quick and without the need to wait for surveys to come back.

Mark King Properties will buy any house in any condition in South Wales, even with damp. If you are looking for a fast and guaranteed house sale in South Wales, contact me on 02920 501 001 or fill in the short form below.

Suggested reads:

Stamp Duty in the UK and Wales, UK
Avoiding stamp duty: loopholes exposed
Property Fraud
Types of Property Fraud; All You Need to Know
How to avoid selling your house to pay for care
How to Avoid Selling Your House to Pay for Care

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