Frequently Asked Questions

Is the seller of a house obliged to give me a survey report?

There is no requirement on the seller of a house to provide any guarantees whatsoever about the condition of the property. It’s a fact that many sellers will try to conceal defects be they major or minor, and it’s only when you move in that you find the big damp patch that was covered by the sofa when you viewed the house all those months ago. It’s a case of “buyer beware “, and getting a proper survey is the only way you’ll know for sure.

Am I obliged to get a survey done?

It’s entirely up to you whether you pay for a survey on your new home. But for every buyer who didn’t get a survey, 1 in 5 of them will spend almost £6000 putting right the defects they didn’t know about.

My friend is a builder. He can give the place a once over for me, can’t he?

While many builders, and other trades people, are skilled in their particular field, they rarely have the training to conduct a comprehensive and thorough inspection of all aspects of the property. They probably won’t make any notes, or take any photographs, and will give you only a brief verbal description of the building. But what if they missed something? What if they weren’t knowledgeable about a specific aspect of the property, and didn’t appreciate the consequences? Do you have any right of recourse? Do they carry any professional indemnity insurance? The chances are that you would have no means to seek recompense in the event they got it wrong. And the only person that costs is you.

What type of survey do I need?

If you’re buying the whole house (which presumably you are!) then you need a survey that looks at the whole house. It doesn’t matter what name is on the front of the survey report, unless it’s a complete and thorough inspection then it’s of limited value. The CHIPS Home Buyers Building Survey or Historic & Listed Building Survey looks at everything that can possibly and reasonably be inspected, and reports on all and any issues that might be relevant. It’s a “full structural” inspection (what some surveyors call a Level 3) but with a report format thats clear and easily understood.

I only have a limited budget. Should I buy a new sofa or spend the money on a survey?

When buying a house it’s normal that money is tight, with many competing demands on the funds available. In many cases, though, buyers find that, armed with the information contained in their CHIPS survey report they can negotiate the buying price of their home down by between 5 and 10 times the cost of the survey. So it can be a very cost-effective exercise. But most important of all is the peace of mind in knowing exactly what you’re buying and where you need to budget for repairs and replacements.

I’ve found another surveyor who offers a cheaper service.

As with any service there are different levels of quality. I will never claim to be the cheapest surveyor, but I will endeavour to provide you with the best level of customer service and value for money. I take personal pride in providing you with a report that answers all of your questions clearly and accurately. I make sure that I have the time available to do the job properly, and once you receive your report am always happy to talk through the issues that are raised.

My lender offers an upgrade to a condition survey with my valuation. Isn’t that a better option?

The chances are that the surveyor during the valuation for the lender will also do your survey. He (or she) is likely to be a direct or panel employee of the lender and is primarily concerned with their interests, not yours. There is no requirement for you to accept your lenders surveyor other than for the valuation, so it’s up to you if you prefer to appoint an independent surveyor for a condition inspection. It may cost you a little more but you’ll have direct local contact with the surveyor and the choice of the service that suits you best.

The house I’m buying is new or only a few years old. I don’t need a survey, do I?

Many new properties come with an NHBC guarantee. But this only covers parts of the building, such as the gas and electric’s, for 2, or 3 years. And even though it may cover the main building for 10 years, making a claim can often be an expensive and difficult process, and probably comes with an excess of £1000 in any case. A thorough survey will almost certainly cost less than this and will give you peace of mind to know that the home you’re buying is free from major defects and worries.

I’m buying a flat. Does that need a survey?

Most flats are bought on a leasehold basis. Although you may also buy a share of the freehold, you will still be responsible for a portion of the costs of the repairs to common parts of the property or block. Often the cost of repairs will be covered within the service charge, but sometimes more significant repairs are required and you will be asked for an additional contribution. So, it’s important for you to know, not just the condition of the flat you’re buying, but to get an idea of whether more significant repairs are required which could land you with a big unexpected bill. Our survey looks in detail at the flat you’re buying, but also includes a general inspection of the common parts to gain an overall impression of the condition.

I’m not sure if I need a survey?

I’m a surveyor, so you’d expect me to sell you a survey. Wouldn’t you? Because of my reputation most of my work comes through referrals from existing clients and local property professionals. And that means that my diary is kept pretty full, and that I don’t need to force people to commission surveys they don’t need. I’m always happy to give you impartial advice and, where it’s appropriate, to tell you that you don’t need my services, or that a survey won’t give you the information you want. I’ve always found that being honest with people is what makes me happiest and ensures that I meet clients’ needs as closely as possible.

FAQs

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