Buying A Home- Why Do I Need A Property Survey?

  • Author: Patrick 'Pat' Richards
  • Posted on: 16th April 2019
  • Posted in: Blog

Make sure you know exactly what you are getting for your money

For many people, finding their dream home is a joyous occasion, but it can be easy to forget about using proper judgment when it comes to ensuring that all the necessary steps are taken during the property buying process, this often means that the dream can quickly become a very costly nightmare.

When buying a property of any age, the need for a detailed and comprehensive survey by an experienced surveyor cannot be underestimated. 

What is a survey and why is it important?

Whilst it is not currently a legal requirement to have a survey, in simple terms, a property survey acts as a 'health check' which can reveal any issues which may affect the value of the property. If identified at an early stage this can help the buyer make an informed decision about whether the issues are something they can undertake to fix upon purchase, or if the costs of correcting the issues can be negotiated in the purchase price, or at this stage the buyer can make a decision to withdraw from the purchase so as not to incur any unnecessary costs.   

Also, it is important to bear in mind that the majority of buyers will need to take out a mortgage, and as part of the conveyancing process a mortgage valuation survey is carried out. The purpose of a valuation by a mortgage lender is to confirm to the lender that the property is good security for the sum being lent, not whether the property is perfect and defect free.

A survey is done at the request of the lender, not the buyer, and as such, if it meets the lender's needs but not the buyers, the buyer has very little recourse should it be wrong.

What could happen if I choose not to have a property survey done?

In monetary terms, the consequences of not having a proper survey carried out can on occasion be catastrophic, especially if it leads to lost value and great difficulty upon resale in due course.

As a buyer, you must carefully consider if reliance can be placed on a mortgage lenders valuation report or whether, when spending what for most is a huge sum of money, they should also for peace of mind instruct a surveyor to prepare a full structural survey. This is, of course, an additional cost at a time when many buyers are already financially stretched due to the high cost of property, but relative to the purchase price it is normally a very modest expense and one that most definitely is good value if it means a buyer avoids the situation faced in this article.

What are the different types of survey and how much do they cost?

There are different types of survey available all of which vary in terms of depth of inspection undertaken and detail provided to the buyer and mortgage lender. This helpful guide from the Money Advice Service highlights the available choices as well as associated costs that you can expect to pay for each type. As with any service provider, surveyors costs will vary and so it is advisable to obtain at least three quotes prior to making a final decision on who to use. Also, looking at customer reviews can help you to know what to expect in terms of the service and support they can offer. 

Need more advice on this topic?

At Crosby & Woods, our team of property solicitors has a wealth of experience and knowledge of buying and selling of property.

We work only with equally experienced and respected local property professionals, such as surveyors and independent mortgage brokers, so as to ensure that all of our customers have access under one roof for the advice they will need to best ensure their interests are protected at all times.

To discuss any related property issue, including obtaining a fully itemised quotation for a sale, purchase, remortgage or lease extension from a Law Society CQS accredited Conveyancing practice, please call 01273 734 600 or email us at advice@crosbywoods.co.uk