Scrimping on survey costs thousands

Sarah Davidson

October 28, 2010

The surveyor trade body said a quarter of all homebuyers who only had a mortgage valuation report had to make unplanned building works to their property after purchase.

A mortgage valuation report is purely an indication of the property’s value for loan purposes, prepared for the lender, not the purchaser. Unlike a full survey, it won’t uncover any potential problems with the condition of a building.

But RICS said 58% of respondents wrongly believed a valuation report included the building’s condition, including searching for damp and structural movement. A further 31% were mistakenly under the impression it included advice on any legal issues a solicitor should investigate.

A RICS Homebuyer Report provides an inspection and report on the property’s condition, plus a valuation. A building survey is more detailed, and may be the best option if the property is in a bad state of repair, has been significantly altered, or if a buyer is planning major conversion or renovation.

76% of those questioned by RICS also said a more comprehensive survey could potentially allow buyers to negotiate a better deal with the seller.

David Dalby, RICS residential director, said: “In difficult economic times like this it makes sense to ensure you are getting the best possible value when purchasing a property. No one wants to find a nasty surprise down the line, or pay over the odds for a property that needs lots of work.

“A survey not only gives you a price valuation, but also a detailed report of the state of the property. Armed with this information you are in a much stronger position to decide whether to proceed with the purchase, or negotiate a better deal.”

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