Why Get a Survey before Buying a House?

Author:
Sarah Ryan
Head of Property, Licensed Conveyancer
Date:
26/07/2019

Buying a house is one of the most expensive purchases you’ll ever make and you won’t know if you’re getting value for money without a survey.

Even though you’ve probably had a good look around the house you want to buy several times and everything looks great, you can’t see any of the potential issues the property might have without getting a survey.

A survey can identify any hidden issues that could end up costing you thousands of pounds to fix. Once you are aware of these issues, you can either pull out of the purchase if the issues are a deal breaker, or you renegotiate the price to factor in the amount of money you’ll spend on fixing them.

In addition, if the property has had any building work completed on it in the past such as an extension or loft conversion, a survey will make sure that the building work is up to Building Regulation standards and is fit for use.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) suggest that home buyers who didn’t get a survey faced nearly £6,000 in repair costs once they bought their house. A survey will save you time and money from the outset.

For free initial advice or a free, fixed fee Conveyancing quote online get in touch with our Conveyancing Solicitors. We operate a ‘No Sale No Fee’ service.

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Buying with a Mortgage

If you are buying a house or a flat with a mortgage, your mortgage lender will insist on you having a survey carried out before you can buy. They will probably choose a Surveyor and you will have to pay but they’ll probably only want a Valuation Survey. You can decide at this point if you want a more in depth survey report.

There are generally three common types of property survey. They are:

  • Condition Report – this is just a review of the condition of the property and is normally used on newer properties, which shouldn’t have any issues.
  • Home Buyer Report – this is also known as a Home Condition Survey and will check for issues such as damp and subsidence. This report will provide guidance on any repairs needed and maintenance issues. The Home Buyer Report is usually used for properties that are in a reasonable condition and may include a valuation in the report along with the cost to rebuild.
  • Building Survey – generally used on properties older than 50 years or those with unusual features such as a thatched roof. You should also consider a Building Survey if you are buying a renovation project or a property in a poor condition. A Building Survey will help you to identify the structural condition of the building and provide advice on any defects and the maintenance of the building.

Snagging Survey

You probably won’t need a survey if you’re buying a new build house but you may want a ‘Snagging’ Survey. This should pick up all issues from a door that won’t close properly to issues with external brickwork. The best time to get this done is after the building work is finished but before your completion date. Some developers will not let you do this though, so if you are getting a snagging survey, get it done as soon as possible after completion.

How Much Does a Survey Cost?

The price differs for each survey and will probably depend on where you are buying in the UK. Surveys cost anywhere between £300 to £1,500, which can be difficult to find when you’re planning a to buy a house or a flat, but it could save you lots of money in the long run and will give you peace of mind that the property you’re buying won’t cost you thousands in repairs.

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