What can happen if you don’t get a property survey?

By Paul Gowers
Posted on:
colourful houses on a street

Buying a home is a major financial commitment and quite possibly the biggest purchase you will ever make. That’s why it’s sensible to protect the investment by consulting the advice of a property expert before signing on the dotted line. By spending a relatively small amount on a home survey now, you can rest assured that you’ll be avoiding all sorts of potential problems with the building later down the line.

Unfortunately, there are still too many homebuyers who consider a professional survey to be not worth the expense. In this blog, we thought we would put the record straight, highlighting the risks of not bothering to get a property survey and the huge impact this can have.

No expert property advice

A home survey inspects the property to ensure that any serious issues and building defects such as wet rot or dry rot, roof problems, damp or structural movement are highlighted, enabling you to make an informed decision. Independent advice from a qualified building professional with years of experience in the field is essential to help you understand the property asset you are about to commit to. What’s more, a surveyor can bring local property expertise and specialist knowledge to the table, such as for surveying historic properties. Without this knowledge, you’re on your own, left to your own devices and effectively buying blind and hoping that it will all be fine.

A mortgage valuation is not enough

As we explained in some detail in a recent blog post, there is a big difference between a mortgage valuation and a property survey. Crucially, the mortgage valuation is carried out for the lender’s benefit to assess the risk of their loan to you. An independent home survey commissioned by yourself has nothing to do with your lender; it is your opportunity to carry out due diligence before you commit to the transaction. The object of the exercise is to make you fully aware of any potential defects or structural concerns, enabling you to decide on how to proceed with all the facts at your disposal.

No basis for price renegotiation

Should the survey flag up worrying issues about the property’s condition, a tried and tested strategy is to use the report findings as a negotiating tool, effectively helping to broker the price with the seller. A professional survey comprises a detailed record of all the issues and defects identified by way of ‘traffic light’ condition ratings to indicate the urgency and severity of each problem. Without reference to an authoritative document to back up your request for a price discount and/or remedial action to deal with a problem with the property, your renegotiation attempts are much less likely to be successful.

Greater future expenditure

An independent home survey carried out by a professional Chartered Surveyor will give you a good understanding of the property asset you are about to buy. The report may well alert you to a number of defects that aren’t immediately obvious to the layman. Left undealt with or worse, unrecognised, these defects will get worse over time, potentially incurring significant expenditure to put right later down the line. This is where a property survey can be worth its weight in gold, saving you literally thousands of pounds in future expenditure.

No peace of mind

Finally, a property survey delivers valuable peace of mind. You can rest assured that our independent assessment of the building you are considering the purchase of gives you all the salient facts to empower you to make a confident, informed judgement, based on the solid advice from a qualified professional. Working with RICS Chartered Surveyors such as ourselves at Gowers Surveyors, you really couldn’t be in safer hands. If you wish to discuss your next house purchase or want to find out more about our range of surveying services, do please get in touch.

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