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Do I Need a Survey When I Buy Property?

The short answer is “Yes!“

Buyer Beware applies and means the property is “as is” or subject to all defects. It is vital that you carry out searches, inspections and survey and that you are aware of any defects. From completion you will take the property subject to defects. .

Your conveyancer will carry out searches for you. But they will not attend the property and the inspection and survey are down to you.

Unless the property is a New Build, and you are buying from the Developer, then it would be against legal advice to proceed without a Survey. Additionally, the Survey should be as detailed as you can afford. A Homebuyers Survey is great but if you can afford a Structural Survey that is advisable.

You can use the Survey to raise with the seller any issues revealed and to obtain a price reduction. Don't forget to have your mortgage offer reissued to reflect the new price.

Alternatively, the seller may be prepared to carry out the works pre-exchange.

The Survey should reveal any structural concerns which you need to raise with the seller's conveyancer. Make enquiries as soon as possible through the Estate Agents and your conveyancer. You cannot raise enquiries after exchange. Once exchanged you are legally bound.

Do not rely on a lender valuation!

This is NOT for your benefit and only the Lender may rely on it. Plus, it is NOT detailed enough and may be a desktop valuation with no physical visit to the property.

New Builds

If you are buying a new build plot you may still want a surveyor to look at the build quality and point out any snagging issues or potential defects.

A new build comes with a 10 year structural guarantee. Mainstream developers will offer NHBC. Other developers may use a different provider and you should check they are accepted by your lender.

Again, buyer beware applies and NOT all developers are equal.

For further information see my article on Buyer Beware.


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