Why a Building Survey is so Important

U_of_Leeds_-_TerracesAt Home-Approved we’ve seen the good, the bad and the more challenging side of buying properties. Plenty of our property surveys have provided clients with that all-important green light to exchange and complete, but we’ve also carried out building surveys that have shown a property to be in poor condition. Some clients have decided to not proceed with their purchase – for one client an estimated £36K of repair work on an East London property was far too much to contemplate.

Another successfully negotiated a price reduction of £5K for his dream home in Isleworth when our survey uncovered serious problems with the roof. In both cases, the survey report was money well spent – enabling one client to make the sensible decision to walk away and the other to find a way of covering the cost of repairs.

Buying a property is probably the largest purchase that most of us will ever make. And with so much money at stake it’s logical to want to be as fully informed as possible so that there are no nasty surprises when you move in – that’s exactly what a Home-Approved building survey is all about. It provides a comprehensive description of the condition of a property and details any identified defects.

So a building survey isn’t just more money being wasted?

According to research by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), more than a fifth of homebuyers who did not take out a survey prior to purchasing their property found themselves owning a property they would not have purchased had they had been aware of its true condition.

Why have a building survey?

  • Know what you’re buying
  • Increase negotiating power
  • Get sellers to fix problems in advance
  • Save money
  • Avoid costly mistakes

Viewing a property is more about deciding whether it suits your needs and desires. You’ll get a general feel for its condition, but without proper investigation by a qualified building surveyor most people will be unaware of serious defects and problems. Down the line – weeks, months or even years after moving in – these problems will most likely become apparent and could have serious financial implications. A property survey is a detailed inspection, designed to identify serious defects as well as the more cosmetic – it gives the information you need in order to make a considered decision of whether to buy or not.

You’ll be more aware of likely repair costs

RICS’ survey of over 1000 property buyers demonstrated that a quarter of those whose decision-making process relied solely on their mortgage valuation were faced with unexpected building work at an average cost of £5,750 after completion – ouch! Some repairs can be considered acceptable and won’t be a barrier to the purchase – as long as you understand what’s involved and can budget accordingly. At Home-Approved we include a colour coded system of repairs so that clients have a very clear picture of what needs to be done and what repairs need to be carried out as a priority. We know that buying a property involves a lot of expense and doesn’t always leave much spare for future expenses – planning really helps.

Chartered Building SurveyorsSerious faults can give you greater negotiating power

A problem with a damp course, drainage issues or an unsafe wall is likely to be a sticking point for the seller. They will face the same problem over and over again – assuming their buyers commission a building survey – unless the defect is dealt with. It gives you the opportunity to either negotiate a better price, allowing for the cost of repairs you’ll face once you own the property, or the seller may agree to pay for the repairs themselves as a condition of the purchase. Remember, they may be in a property chain and will want to ensure their own sale goes through smoothly. If they are unreasonable, you have the right to walk away.

Some properties can be more of a risk

Period properties, renovated buildings and conversions really do demand the need for a building survey. The property that is described by your estate agent as ‘ripe for modernisation’ after being in the same family for 50 years could be an exciting project on which to stamp your personality, but it could also be a minefield of neglected water leaks, dangerous electrical wiring and a structurally unsound roof – a building survey may slightly tarnish your plans of poring over Farrow & Ball paint charts, but it will give you the reality of the situation.

Survey, survey, survey!

Estate agents’ mantra is ‘location, location, location’. At Home-Approved we can’t emphasise enough the importance of a building survey, no matter what prime location a property might occupy. Yes, it’s one more bill to add to the rising costs associated with buying the property, but a building survey report is an investment for the future – a bible of sorts to what will hopefully become your new home, a handbook of things to do over time that will ensure your dream home doesn’t become a nightmare.

If you’d like to arrange a Home-Approved building survey  give us a call on 0800 980 3113 or get a building survey quote