Property surveys: Looks can be deceiving

Published: 13/11/2014

Buying a property is an expensive business. As well as the ongoing financial commitments, there are a number of associated costs before the property purchase even get started; conveyancing fees, estate agent charges, surveys and then things like removal costs.

It’s only human nature to try and find ways to cut costs and the easiest way many think to do this is by not having a survey. However this decision could end up costing considerably more than the initial survey.

The lender does the survey…

This is a common misconception. The lender in fact conducts a valuation, not a full survey and often this doesn’t even require them going into the property. The only reason a lender carries out a valuation is to ensure they are not lending too much. As a result, fundamental problems are not picked up on which could leave you financially exposed later on.

OK I’ll have a survey. What’s the cheapest?

There are three levels of surveys the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) offer:

  • RICS Home Condition Report
  • RICS HomeBuyer Report
  • RICS Building Survey.

An RICS Home Condition Report will show you the condition of the property and highlight any urgent defects.

An RICS HomeBuyer Report includes all the details of the Home Condition Report as well as a market valuation, advice on defects that may affect the value of the property and ongoing maintenance advice.

An RICS Building Survey is the most comprehensive survey as it gives you a detailed structural report and an in depth analysis of the property’s condition. This type of survey is essential for larger or older properties or if you are planning on undertaking major renovation work.

Typically an RICS Home Condition Report is the least expensive survey. However, as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. If you are buying a property we recommend you have at least a HomeBuyer Report.

Knowledge is power – for price negotiations!

We appreciate buying property is a costly business but cutting corners on a survey is not the answer. In fact having a survey could be a way to save you money – both immediately and in the long term.

There was a recent example of a homeowner who ended up with a £30,000 repair bill for dry rot. The owner in question had paid for a cheaper survey which failed to spot the problem. However had she paid that little bit more this problem would have been identified at the time of purchase, giving her the opportunity to pull out of the purchase or negotiate a reduction on the asking price.

On average buyers who commission a survey are able to reduce the price they pay by £2000.

Show All Articles