A home is the most expensive purchase most people ever make. As an owner you will benefit from expert advice on the condition of your property – whether you plan to live in it, rent it out or sell it.
The purchase of a house or flat in England and Wales, like much of contract law, is based on the principle of ‘Caveat Emptor’ or ‘let the buyer beware’. In short it means that you should make as extensive an investigation into the property as you are able. If the house is falling down and you haven’t had a survey done, you are unlikely to have any recourse to the seller.
If you are using a mortgage lender, they will carry out a valuation. This is not a survey and it is not unknown for these valuations to be ‘drive by’. Even if the valuer enters the property, the inspection will be superficial. A home buyer’s report is a bit more detailed but again, the surveyor will make only a basic inspection and does not go as far as a full structural survey.
Many people question whether, with the other expenses of buying adding up, they need a full structural survey – especially if the mortgage lender has carried out a valuation or homebuyer’s report. However, a house may be the most expensive thing you will ever buy but the cost of a survey may be ‘only’ around £450 to £650.