The Inside Edge
Ian Cowie wrote a fantastic piece for The Telegraph recently entitled ‘A nasty surprise for ‘penny wise’ homebuyers despite falling house prices which made a salient point that home buyers who opt to buy a house without an independant survey often have to pay for unexpected building works after moving in.
This stems from a recent report by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which found 25% of people who bought houses solely based on the mortgage valuation report later needed unexpected building work costing them on average over £1800 after they moved in.
The purpose of a mortgage valuation is for the lender to assess whether the property you’re dying to buy is actually worth what you think it is – and what you’re trying to borrow. Mainly so that if you can’t pay your mortgage they can take the house and not lose money.
For that reason alone the lenders valutation is for the benefit of the lender, not for you the buyer. Although it can be a good guide for you concerning the value of the property, it can be a very basic survey and doesn’t look at the structure and condition of the building in any great detail.
Many lenders now offer buyers the opportunity to pay a little extra and get a more detailed condition report as part of their basic valuation survey and it is this that you really need to highlight any rising damp, dry rot, dodgy chimneys and wonky walls.
If you’re not getting a mortgage you can arrange a home condition survey yourself by contacting an RICS surveyor to get a house survey quote who will be qualified to assess the structure and condition of the property and provide advice and likely costs of any work that needs doing to the house – before you complete the transaction, let alone move in. This can be most useful for picking up underlying issues before you buy the house and giving you the opportunity to discuss these with the seller and if necessary adjust the price to reflect the cost of any works that need doing.
You can expect a home survey quote to cost between £350 and £400, and if you instruct a buildings surveyor yourself and not through your lender you have the added advantage that if anything is missed you will have some come-back under the Surveyor’s professional indemnity insurance – effectively insuring yourself against any unforeseen problems. Although in the vast majority of cases the surveyor will pick up any issues in his detailed building condition report prior to you buying the house.
Get a house survey quote