According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) only about one in five home buyers choose to have a professional survey done of the property on which they are about to spend several hundreds of thousands of pounds to buy. This survey is called the homebuyers guide.
Yet for the outlay on a survey which is likely to cost no more than a few hundred pounds, such potential buyers could be running the risk of serious structural defects or issues on their prospective home going totally unnoticed.
So why the reluctance?
There are a number of reasons for such apparent reluctance on the part of buyers to spend such a comparatively small sum on a homebuyers guide that could forewarn them – and, therefore, forearm them – about any potentially serious faults or failings in the property they are interested in purchasing.
- The most obvious, of course, is that buying a home is an expensive enough business as it is. Many buyers find their finances stretched to the very limit. They might make the economy of saving themselves even the £300 or so pounds that a survey is likely to cost;
- Some buyers may be under the misapprehension that the mortgage valuation required by the mortgage lender represents a perfectly reasonable alternative, arguing that a valuation that meets the lender’s satisfaction is evidence enough that there is nothing seriously defective with the structure of the property. Unfortunately, of course, that is not the case. A mortgage valuation is nothing more than that – a valuation to reassure the lender that the apparent value of the property is at least as much as the mortgage to be offered;
- Buyers may also be wary of spending several hundred pounds for the survey of a property which may not proceed to sale and purchase. The survey, of course, is typically commissioned before contracts have been exchanged. There remains the possibility, therefore, that the survey is conducted on a home which is not eventually bought. The cost of the survey, in those circumstances, may be seen to have been “wasted”.
Why you might want to overcome that reluctance
Despite the reluctance, however, there are also a number of compelling reasons for taking the plunge and commissioning a survey:
- For a matter of the £300 to £350 pounds spent on a professional homebuyers guide and the RCIS-approved Homebuyers Report you receive, you may be given critical information to make you think again about spending a further several hundreds of thousands of pounds on proceeding with the purchase – or at the very least negotiating a reduction in the selling price with the vendor in the light of the issues that have been revealed;
- Should you proceed with the purchase, the survey and its associated homebuyers report may also give you an accurate and reliable basis on which to arrange insurance for the property;
- Above all, of course, such a survey will reveal all of the problems and potential issues which need to be addressed before you can look forward to the long and confident enjoyment of the home in which you propose investing so much of your hard-earned cash.