Do you need a property survey? House surveys explained

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16 Mar 2018

Do you really need a survey when buying a home? What is a house survey?

Author: Dan Lowery

Property is often the largest investment any of us ever make and so you want to ensure that you are making the right choice before parting with any of your hard earned cash.

According the Compare My Move, only 20% of people get a survey taken out before purchasing a property leaving them open to a whole host of costly surprises after the purchase completes. In fact, research from the RICS has shown that one in five buyers found faults in their property after purchase, costing an average of £6,000 for the repairs.

Unless you are a building expert, it is highly recommended that you get a survey carried out on the property before making a purchase. Aside from the obvious benefit of finding out if there are any issues with the home, you may even be able to use the findings from the survey to negotiate with the price down if issues are found.

Surveys can be very useful and help you, the buyer avoid expensive repairs further down the line, they can also help give you peace of mind that those minor cracks you’ve noticed will not cause the house to fall down.

Using the information from the survey you will be better informed as a buyer and can reconsider whether you want to buy the property or, try to renegotiate the price – if the survey has found £15,000 worth of roof repairs are required then it is fair for you to knock £15,000 off the asking price.

 

The three different types of house surveys explained…

The most basic is a mortgage valuation which majority of homeowners have to undertake in order to secure their finances although it isn’t a survey as such. However, as this report is carried out for the lender’s benefit rather than the buyer’s, should the valuer fail to spot a costly defect, the buyer will not have a claim against them in court.

The other types of survey are a Homebuyer Report and a Building Survey which each have their own unique benefits. Homebuyer Reports are more appropriate for standard construction homes which are less than 100 years old and don’t have any obvious problems. It consists of a visual inspection of the property, the findings are detailed in the report using a traffic light system so you can clearly understand any elements of concern.

A Building Survey is more applicable for buildings that are over 100 years old, properties with obvious issues or non-standard constructions. Building Surveys are the most detailed option and include all of the information from the Homebuyer Report along with an in-depth analysis of any defects, repairs or maintenance issues.

It is important to bear in the mind that the survey may not give you all the answers and the surveyor may recommend that you seek expert advice on electrical issues or the heating system among other things.

To find out more about the benefits of undertaking a survey before purchasing a property, get in touch with our RICS qualified surveyors on 0333 1220 961.

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