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Do I Need a Survey When I Buy Property?

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 so that you are aware of any defects. From completion you will take the property subject to any defects. Ask relevant questions of the seller and get all statements in writing.

Your conveyancer will carry out searches for you. But they will not attend the property and the inspection and survey are down to you. They also cannot check the seller’s replies are correct. They can only report to you what the seller has said to them. You must employ experts to check things like the gas and electrics.

Unless the property is a New Build, and you are buying from a respected nationwide developer, then it would be against legal advice to proceed without a Survey. Even with New Builds a surveyor’s “snagging report” is advisable. Additionally the Survey should be as detailed as you can afford. A Homebuyers Survey is great but if you can afford a Structural Survey it is worth it.

You can use the Survey to raise with the seller any issues revealed and to obtain a price reduction. However, remember to have your mortgage offer reissued to reflect the new price. Alternatively, the seller may be prepared to carry out the works pre-exchange. Negotiate this via the Estate Agent. That is their role.

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 and cannot raise issues.

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 attendance at 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 but you need to check that they are accepted by your lender. Each lender has different lending criteria and requirements. Again, buyer beware applies and NOT all developers are equal.

For further information see my articles on Buyer Beware & Searches and Survey.

If you receive an adverse survey read my blog article on this. The article covers how to address this and negotiate a respolution with the seller and Estate Agent.


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