UK homebuyers risk £1.3bn by not surveying before they buy

According to HMRC, over the course of 2010, there were approx 880,000 residential property transactions across the United Kingdom, meaning 704,000 recent buyers can expect to end up forking out more than they had bargained for in relation to their home.

Richard Sexton, Sales Director of e.surv who conducted the research said: “4 out of 5 of homebuyers don’t have a survey carried out before they buy a house- and this is down to a number of factors.  The main one is a common misunderstanding that the lender’s mortgage valuation will tell you all you need. Buyers should appreciated that this report is not for your benefit but to help the lender assess how much to lend. Additionally, groups who are in a position to recommend a survey, such as agents and brokers may neglect to do so -but it’s also true that plenty of people are getting good advice from reputable agents and the best brokers- our agency brands are currently educating the public with a ‘Sold Subject to Survey’ campaign, for example. However, some still choose to ignore advice because they can’t see past the initial cost of the survey.  They look at the price tag and hope they’ll be fine without it.  To them this is just another expense in an already expensive process.  But it’s an investment on the most important purchase you make.  You could spend more on a vehicle inspection before buying a second hand car.”

Typical problems that buyers need to be aware of would include dampness, rotten timbers and roof defects which can cost anything from a few hundred pounds up to many thousands to rectify.  The risk is that problems go unnoticed and lead to much greater expenditure later on.  Modern properties are also increasingly found to suffer from condensation, dampness and inadequate ventilation.

“Interestingly, people buying more expensive properties are more thorough when they buy, ”says Sexton, “despite the fact they are the ones who can afford to fix dodgy roofs or unexpected damp patches.  But they’re not just being risk-averse – they use surveys to barter down sellers very effectively.  It’s the people who can least afford something to go wrong who are missing out.”

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