Do I really need a survey?

Do I really need a survey?

Do I really need a survey? Well, the short answer is yes.

Contrary to costs such as legal fees, estate agency fees or Stamp Duty, having your new home surveyed isn’t actually compulsory. However, with a property being the most expensive thing most of us will ever buy, the price of not having it checked by a surveyor could be devastating.

If you buy a property for the seller’s asking price and later find it has serious defects, it’s too late to back out of the purchase or renegotiate a price with your seller. You’re also likely to find yourself paying out to rectify the fault – and probably a lot more than you would have paid for a survey in the first place!

A survey to suit your needs

There isn’t just one type of survey available – you can get different ones that range in cost, according to the kind of property you’re buying:

  1. Condition report
    What is it: a basic overview of the property that only highlights the most significant defects; it doesn’t go into detail.
    Suitable for: those buying a relatively new homes in good condition.
  2. Homebuyer report
    What is it: a more comprehensive survey that highlights obvious defects such as damp or subsidence. It will include advice on any necessary repairs or maintenance and may also include a valuation or an estimation of rebuild costs. However, it’s not an intrusive survey, meaning the surveyor will only be picking up on visible issues.
    Suitable for: those buying a standard property in a reasonable condition.
  3. Building survey
    What is it: the most comprehensive type of survey, which looks at the property’s structure and condition, lists any defects and advises on repair and maintenance work. Unlike a homebuyer report, this is a much more hands-on survey, so the surveyor will do things like going up in the loft or looking under floorboards or behind sofas.
    Suitable for: older or listed buildings, or properties that are in poor condition or have an unusual design or structure.

But what if I’m buying a new build?

Even though it’s tempting not to have a new build property surveyed, there can still be issues with new build homes that could be costly to repair. If you’re buying a new build, you’ll need a slightly different survey called a snagging survey. It identifies any defects with new build homes, from cosmetic issues to structural problems, which the developer will then have to fix within the two-year warranty period.

We can help

As a member of Openwork, we can refer you to our specialist Surveying Service, which offers access to a large network of approved surveyors across the UK. For your peace of mind, get in touch.

Surveying is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Key takeaways

  • Do you need a survey of your new home? The short answer is yes!
  • Getting a survey done ensures you won’t buy a home only to find out about serious defects that could cost you a lot of money to repair
  • There are three types of survey: a condition report, a homebuyer’s report and a building survey
  • Each goes into more detail than the last, with the condition report being the most superficial and a building survey the most comprehensive
  • The type and cost of the survey you commission depends on the property you’re buying; if it’s a relatively new property in good condition, a condition report will be most appropriate
  • If you’re buying an older, listed or unusual property, you’ll likely need a building survey
  • As a member of Openwork, come to us and we’ll refer you to our Surveying Service

This article is intended to provide a general appreciation of the topic and it is not advice.