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Buying a Semi-Detached Property – What Are the Pros and Cons?

semi-detached house full property surveyWhen purchasing any type of residential or commercial property, a building survey is essential. Helping to protect your investment and give you peace of mind, it’s crucial to consult a building surveyor, whether you are buying in east London, the Home Counties or another area.

A report published in 2016 showed that the price of the average semi-detached house has soared to over £1 million in a third of London boroughs. Though semis in some parts of east London may not have broken the million-pound mark, it won’t be long before they do if the current price rises continue.

Semi-detached houses come in a variety of different styles and sizes and date from different periods. Though many of the semis we see in London and the South East date from the housing boom of the 1920s and 30s, the first semi-detached home was actually built way back in the 19th century by architect John Shaw. Semis continued to be built throughout the 20th century, with a 2016 study revealing that three-bed semis are now the most sought after properties in the UK. Their combination of affordability, space and style is proving popular to homeowners across the country.

Advantages of Buying a Semi-Detached House

More Affordable than a Detached Home

Even though estate agent Savills reported that semi-detached properties in London increased in value by a staggering 41% in just five years, they remain far more affordable than similar detached properties. Even in cases where detached homes are very close together, they still demand a higher price tag than their conjoined counterparts.

Outdoor Space

Outdoor space is at a premium in many parts of the capital, including Greenwich, Southwark, Lewisham and Bexley, as well as in other parts of the South East. In general, semi-detached properties – and end of terrace homes – are likely to come with more outside space than mid-terraces. As well as giving a home kerb appeal and providing families with an area to play and to socialise, outside space to the front and rear of the property can sometimes be utilised for off-street parking, something that’s essential for many homeowners and can add value.

Saving on Heating and Maintenance

Though you may not feel much heat coming through the party wall in a semi-detached property, having another building attached can shave a significant amount off your heating bill. As well as having a full building survey done when purchasing a property, prospective home buyers also now receive energy reports. This will give a general initial idea of how efficient a home is and will allow buyers to compare the semi-detached home they’re interested in with other similar properties.

Possible Disadvantages


As you only have one neighbour to deal with when living in a semi, they offer more privacy and potentially less noise than terraces or flats. However, detached properties are often quieter and more private than semi-detached homes, so if peace is important to you, make sure you check the sound-proofing of your semi before you buy. This is one of the many areas which a chartered surveyor will consider when carrying out a survey of the property.

Arranging Maintenance/Repairs

Although the cost of some repairs and maintenance may be shared with the neighbour, it can make arranging repairs more complex. As well as requiring the other homeowner’s co-operation for major renovations, you also need to remember the Party Wall Act which requires you to inform your neighbour before you carry out certain types of work.  As experienced Party Wall Surveyors, Anderson Associates can advise you on the Party Wall etc Act and issues which may arise.

Is It Leasehold?

In some cases, a semi-detached property will be leasehold. This means you may have to pay maintenance charges and ground rent every year and that some building work may be restricted. It’s important to find out the details of the lease before purchasing your property if your semi does fall into this category.

What Type of Survey Do You Need?

If you’re considering buying a semi-detached home in East London, South East London, Kent, Essex or Suffolk, before making any decision it is important to contact an independent Chartered Building Surveyor and arrange a full building survey. This will give you the most detailed information about the property you intend to buy.

Anderson Associates always recommends protecting your investment with a full survey, which is much more comprehensive than a home buyer report or a mortgage valuation and will give you the information you need for freehold, Leasehold and Share Freehold properties.

If you’re looking for a chartered surveyor in South East London, East London, Essex, Kent or Suffolk, or if you need to get a party wall dispute resolved, Anderson Associates can help. You can also see a sample survey for a Victorian semi-detached house on our website.


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Whether you need a simple valuation or a full structural survey as well as being expert building surveyors we’re happy to give you free, impartial advice on anything to do with buildings and property.
Anderson Associates
(Head Office & Correspondence Address)
Warneford House, Portal Avenue
Martlesham Heath, Ipswich
Suffolk IP5 3QY
T. 01473 623 656
T. 0800 652 8285
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Registered Office: Anderson Associates (Surveying) Ltd. | Warneford House, Portal Avenue, Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk IP5 3QY
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