House surveys: why they’re worth the bother

white grey and red wooden house

Many of us are taking our first steps towards getting on the property ladder or are thinking of moving house. It’s a stressful and expensive process, so you may be looking at ways to cut the time and costs involved.

One thing that people often consider skipping, is getting a house survey done. And with costs ranging from £250 to £1,000, it’s no surprise there’s a temptation not to bother with it. Especially for a house that’s newly built. But unless you’re a builder or property expert, that’s likely to be a mistake. Here’s why house surveys are worth the bother.

You could get a better deal

A house survey will give you a report on the general condition of the property. Being able to point this out to the vendors will help you negotiate a realistic price. This will be better for you and will prevent you from paying more than the house is really worth. So, this more than makes up for the house survey cost.

If you’re pretty sure the structure is sound, then a condition report will highlight any other major problems. Similarly, a homebuyers report is a visual inspection that can spot issues that the untrained eye might not see. You can use this information to help you to work out the costs to fix the problems. This then gives you something concrete to haggle a better sale price with.

It helps to spot problems

Of course, spotting problems is the main purpose of a house survey. So, it’s a good way of knowing what you’re letting yourself in for. This is particularly important when you’re buying an older property. For any house that looks as though it needs renovation work or significant updating, you’d be wise to get a building survey. As it’s a bit more in-depth you have a better chance of spotting hidden as well as more obvious problems such as structural issues. However, a simple condition report should be fine for newer builds.

Having a survey means you have a good idea of what you’re letting yourself in for, both in terms of costs and hard work. So, it’s important to do this promptly, before you make your investment. If it turns out that there’s significantly more work than you bargained for, you can simply walk away. Whereas if you skip the house survey, you may be lumbered with a money pit that’s difficult to do anything with.

A survey gives you peace of mind

But surveys are not just for older and neglected properties. If you think that a survey for a new-build home is a waste of money, think again.

Often, new-build homes are constructed quickly and cheaply, and on a large scale. So, poor workmanship and materials can be a problem. As can a wealth of unresolved snagging issues, which can be hard to get fixed once you’ve moved in. In many cases, the finished product can differ from what the show home promised. Therefore, you may want to get a new build or snagging survey done before completing your purchase.

And it’s just as true for homes built just a decade or so ago, as they may already be starting to develop problems. This means it’s crucial to get yourself a condition report or homebuyers report, even if you think superficially, it looks OK.

So, to be sure a newer home is up to scratch and meets building regulations, a house survey is a wise decision. It gives you peace of mind, especially if you’re a first-time buyer with little experience in the property world.

You can use it to budget for renovations

If you’re buying an older home or fixer-upper, then a house survey is invaluable. You can’t begin to budget properly for repairs unless you know what work needs doing. And a survey can not only give you pointers to what needs fixing, it will give you an idea of what urgent repairs such as structural issues, need solving first. Once you understand this, you can budget for repairs and work out a staged renovation plan.

For this type of property, you really want what’s known as a building survey or full building survey. This is the highest level of house survey, which means you’ll get a more in-depth report. This can include a close look at any specific concerns you have. It delves into the house’s structural integrity as well as the drainage system. Basically, it looks at every accessible part of the property. This type of survey will also give you some repair options, as well as estimated costs and timescales. And this is invaluable information for any potential renov

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