When do I not need to have a survey on a house?
Janet from Hull
Surveying Advice questions and answers
My partner and I are buying our first house and we would like some advice on house surveys. We are trying to save money as much as possible during this expensive time, and I was wondering if there are any property types or circumstances where a survey is not needed on a house? Thank you for your help.
My advice in simple terms is not to buy a house without a survey.
If it is a modern-ish house, the RICS HomeBuyer Report is available at competitive prices. It is less comprehensive than the Building Survey, and therefore the less expensive option. If the property you are purchasing is particularly old or you intend to do any work on it, it is recommended that you get a Building Survey.
You should also note that it is quite common for the surveyor to find some works that can result in a reduction of the purchase price beyond the cost of the report.
If finance is required you should ask the lender to confirm the exact nature of the inspection and to advise as to what documentation you will see following the mortgage valuation survey.
The valuer is unlikely to approve a loan if defects exist and still has a duty of care despite disclaimers issued. The valuer may be prepared to speak to you after his inspection and he may be prepared to do a deal on fees but often corporate costs will still be greater than a private surveyor.
If the owners have not been there long find out if they had a private survey and the findings of that. It may offer some useful information but it is important to remember that no liability passes to you from their surveyor if you decide to go by the findings in that survey and there is an issue with the property.
If it is an older house get a friendly electrician to look at the electrics and the same with the plumbing on the basis that you are buying and have some plans for the house.
At the end of the day a survey is always worthwhile, as the cost of a survey report is always less than the cost of remedial work needed later down the line, and they can often also give you a negotiating tool.
To help you to select the appropriate survey for the property you are purchasing, take a look at our article, ‘What type of survey do I need?’ for information about the survey types available.
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