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Do I need to get a house survey for a cash purchase?

  1. John from Kidderminster
  2. 03 February 2014
  3. Surveys questions and answers

Question

I’m a cash buyer, purchasing a property that has been built in the last ten years and, having searched the house prices of the local area, confident that I am getting the house at a good price – is it necessary for me to get a survey when it is a cash purchase?

Answer

The fact you are a cash buyer means there is no lender who will require you to have a survey or valuation carried out. However, this type of survey is primarily to satisfy the lender that if you default they will be able to recoup their money from the sale of the property and it is not intended to protect your interest.

The purpose of a survey carried out on your behalf will assist you to do some or all of the following:

  • Make a reasoned and informed decision on whether to go ahead with buying the property.

  • Make an informed decision on what is a reasonable price to pay for the property.

  • Take account of any repairs or replacements the property needs.

  • Consider what further advice you should take before committing to purchase the property.

  • To describe visible defects in detail, plus potential problems posed by hidden defects.

  • To establish how the property is built, what materials are used and how these will perform in the future.

  • To outline the necessary repair options and explain the consequences of not acting.

With regards to (2), the value of the property, if you are confident it appears a reasonable price, then a surveyors Valuation may not be of great assistance. However, this assumes there are no significant defects in the property. If there are then the surveyor would take account of this in their estimation.

With regards the risk of your ten year old property having significant defects, then clearly the risk is many times less than for, example, with a hundred year old property.

Having said that, there are many “newer” properties that have defects, some very significant, which go unnoticed by their owners.

As a case in point, I previously lived in a new house, bought from a major house builder, that had a persistent leak around a bulls eye window. Whilst this was eventually rectified, this was primarily due to my knowledge not allowing temporary fixes to be carried out that would leave me with a future headache.

Ultimately, it must be your decision whether you want to use a building experts knowledge to minimise the possibility of purchasing a property with problems, of which you unaware.

It is worth pointing out that most surveyors will reduce their “standard” survey fee for a more modern property. You may also find a surveyor who will further reduce their fee by carrying out a detailed inspection, but merely providing a short letter style summary, rather than a full report.

In overall terms, your risk must be low, but it never fails to amaze me the amount of people who would not buy a second hand car for a few thousand pounds without having it properly checked out, but will happily pay several hundreds of thousands of pounds for a property without any advice from an expert.

Chris Arnold FRICS

Chris Arnold FRICS

Arnold Faulkner

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