Do I Need a House Survey?

For most of us, buying a home is the biggest purchase we will ever make – so it pays to get it right. Yet all too often we hear stories of people who are looking to buy a property and cut corners by not getting an independent professional to carry out a house survey to assess its actual condition.

According to new research by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) of 1,017 buyers from across the UK, over one third of buyers did not commission a house survey leaving them ignorant of any issues with the property, such as structural defects, dry and wet rot, subsidence and many other faults, only for these to become serious matters at a later date.

Of these home buyers who did not take out a house survey, over one fifth are saddled with a property they would never have bought had they been aware of its true condition before purchase with the average cost to correct the problems approaching £6,000.

89% of respondents who did not commission a house survey now think it is important to take out independent advice and 73% of people who did commission a survey said it provided them with peace of mind.

Against this backdrop a house survey is a small price to pay to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Be warned though, A mortgage valuation is not a survey. It will not tell you what is right and wrong with the property. The valuer is only interested in identifying issues which are relevant to the mortgage company and their lending policy.

Results from the survey of home buying consumers also showed common misconceptions and lack of understanding amongst consumers. Nearly 60% of respondents incorrectly identified an estate agent’s primary responsibility with 1 in 10 mistakenly believing agent’s act for the buyer, whilst nearly 1 in 5 thinking they act equally for the buyer and seller.  The agent acts for the seller though as the sales process advances it is not uncommon for the agent to advance the buyers agenda in order to push the sale through.

“The lack of understanding about the home buying process is putting consumers at increased risk as many fail to take out further independent, expert advice.  Agents can and should offer advice to buyers, however, only a surveyor is trained to identify issues with a property. The cost of a survey is a small price to pay for this knowledge and peace of mind.”

Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director

In summary, a house survey ensures buyers are informed about the condition of the property and armed with the necessary information to negotiate the fairest deal. When it comes to buying or selling of a property, forewarned definitely is forearmed.

In our next issue we will explore the differences between the various house surveys, the nuances of each and what is suitable where.

Record Associates is a Shropshire based firm of chartered building surveyors and project managers which specialise in providing property and construction expertise within the residential and commercial sectors.  If you would like to get in touch about a house survey then please call Julian on the number above.