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A national network of reliable, local Chartered Surveyors

As practicing surveyors, we are often asked by prospective clients “why do I need a survey?”

They explain that they’ve viewed the property themselves and didn’t see anything wrong – a viewpoint which is particularly prevalent for purchasers of new properties. The logic goes that a new building simply hasn't had time for things to go wrong and should be up to the current standards of construction. Surely such a property won't be a problematic purchase?

The reality, for new and old properties alike, is a little different.

Bear in mind, for example, that over a tonne of water is contained in the brickwork of a new build house. Most of this is in the mortar and, in fact, the bricks, being kiln dried, frequently take on moisture in the first few months. The walls will therefore inevitably shift, change and settle quite considerably in the initial period - the result can be cracking, structural movement and envelope instability.

It is also worth keeping in mind that the building regulations have changed considerably over the last few decades; correcting the inaccuracies and mistakes of that which went before. Construction is still not a perfect art, therefore, and mistakes can and are made.

A study by the RICS back in 2013 highlighted that the average repair bill for a purchaser who decided against instructing a surveyor was £5,750 – not including any work or maintenance to the interior. Many respondents had significantly more to pay, with defective roofs, structural issues and damp just a few of the myriad problems possible in a property of any age.

Interestingly, while 94% of respondents agreed that getting a survey done before buying a property is important, one in three of the participants admitted to not having one. A fifth of those said that they had bought a house which they later regretted due to unforeseen faults and issues with the property.

When asked to comment on the results of the survey, Paul Keegan MRICS DipBS MBA MCMI, a Chartered Surveyor with 20-years’ experience and Director of the Right Surveyors in Trowbridge, commented:

All good surveyors should focus on providing a broad range of survey types, to suit any budget and particular client requirement. Every property purchaser should have a survey, but many can’t afford the full ‘bells and whistles’ product. For those that can’t, options like the RICS Condition Report and our own House Purchase Survey can be very cost effective.”

David Roberts BSc (hons) MRICS, Director for Stoke Right Surveyors, added:

“Ultimately, buying a house is the biggest investment most of us will ever make – and the RICS survey shows just how much money not getting one can cost you. More than that, a good survey gives you a maintenance schedule to work to and allows you to plan years down the line.”

The Right Surveyors are a national group of surveying practices, each providing local Chartered Surveyors to advise on residential and commercial property acquisitions. If you are looking to invest, the impartial advice of one of our professionals can be invaluable.

0800 880 6024


Published on 4th June 2015

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