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It is the perennial question. Should I have a survey carried out in respect of my property purchase, or do you think I will get away without having one at all?
It is always advisable to have an independent survey carried out when buying a property. In some instances a seller will commission a survey as well, to be sure the house is structurally sound, prior to selling. It is always a requirement of a lender that a property is valued and also, nearly every time, a survey is carried out by a surveyor commissioned by the lender, to be sure the security that is being offered for the loan of the money is worth it. This is a basic prerequisite of all lenders.
So far so good. However in some instances you may find that a buyer opts out of the advice to have an independent survey done. Usually these instances are where the property is a new build, and the property has a developer’s warranty in place, or if the property is a flat, and the obligation to maintain and repair the property is that of the landlord rather than that of the leaseholder. A buyer may feel that a survey in these cases is a waste of time and money.
It is my clear advice that a buyer should always have an independent survey carried out. Besides the point of being better to be safe than sorry, there are unforeseen aspects that a survey can highlight and that are not visible to the naked eye of the buyer, on physical inspection of a property. Example of these are wet and dry rot, or dodgy electrical wiring, sewers and drains that have been built over, just to name a few.
Just to summarise the three different types of surveys you can have carried out; the first category of survey is a basic valuation. This is sometimes done by a lender, with no further inspection. In this instance you should definitely have a further independent survey done. The second category is a homebuyer’s survey. The third and most intensive survey is a full structural survey, which is usually done wherever there is concern on the part of the buyer, or if the property is older than, say, 80 – 100 years.
As a rule of thumb, always have an independent survey carried out, for peace of mind, for completeness and to be sure you are getting exactly what you can see, with no hidden surprises. You are paying a substantial sum of money for your property, and to spend an extra few hundred pounds to be sure the property is structurally sound and free of hidden lurgies must be worth every penny.