Often, major structural issues aren’t easy to spot unless you’re a trained professional, so having a survey carried out on a property you’re buying can be invaluable and can help you avoid any significant repair bills further down the line.
In fact, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) the average buyer goes on to spend an additional £5,750 on repairs after they have purchased a property. But, by having a survey conducted before you purchase, you could reduce or even avoid this altogether. That’s because if a survey does highlight any issues, you then have the opportunity to flag them with your vendor and either request that they rectify them before you exchange or, using your survey as evidence, negotiate a discount on your offer price to cover the repair work needed.
Misconceptions about house surveys
The issue is, many buyers believe the valuation carried out by the mortgage lender is an assessment of the condition of the property - but that’s not the case. A valuation is on behalf of the mortgage lender and simply checks to ensure that the property is worth the amount of money you’re borrowing against it. This is purely for the benefit of the lender, not for the benefit of the buyer. So, if you want to find out the condition of the property in more detail, you’ll need to commission a survey.
Another misconception is that your mortgage lender will arrange your survey for you. That’s not the case either. If you decide that you would like a survey in addition to your mortgage valuation, then you’ll need to arrange and pay for this yourself. However, many solicitors and conveyancers are able to help. Just let them know as soon as you can – ideally when you first instruct them – that you’d like a survey as well as a mortgage valuation, then they’ll then be able to manage the paperwork and potentially help to find you a surveyor to instruct.
As with a mortgage valuation, the only person who can carry out a survey is a chartered surveyor. In most cases, they’ll be a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). There are actually four main types of surveys available, all of varying levels of detail.