Do I Need a Pre-Purchase Survey?

Pre-purchase surveys should always be carried out on a property before you invest your money. Whether it’s your family home, a holiday apartment or a commercial property, pre-purchase surveys locate existing problems within the property and identify any work that may need to be carried out in the future.

General surveyors often recommend a separate damp and timber pre-purchase surveys. Carried out before you make your purchase, a damp and timber survey alerts you to the presence of potentially dangerous damp, wood rots or woodworm, alongside any other issues with the timbers of the building.

In this article, we asked the experts why a pre-purchase survey is a must for any homebuyer.

What Is a Pre-Purchase Survey?

Pre-purchase surveys are designed to identify existing problems that are present in a property, making you, the buyer, fully aware of any issues with the home before you hand over your money.

There are several types of pre-purchase surveys that can be carried out. All of them have the potential to save you money and time in the long term. Pre-purchase surveys should be carried out by a professional and should adhere to the benchmarking standards set by the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors).

  • Homebuyer’s survey: offers a basic overview of the condition of the building, any potential repairs, and future problems.
  • Building survey: offers a more in-depth report on the condition of the structure, while looking in attics and below floorboards for issues.

In addition, a detailed damp and timber is often required. This should be carried out by a qualified member of the Property Care Association.

  • Damp and timber survey: a detailed report focusing on damp, causes of mould and woodworm infestations, while surveying the condition of timbers in the home.

Is a Pre-Purchase Survey a Legal Requirement?

Pre-purchase surveys aren’t a legal requirement. However, they are in most cases required by your mortgage provider before any money can be borrowed.

The type of pre-purchase survey you require depends on the property you’re purchasing. A basic homebuyers survey is appropriate for newer houses with fewer timbers, or smaller apartments and flats with less area to survey.

More in-depth building surveys examine the structure of the home. These should be carried out when the building is large (and there are more potential areas where problems can arise) or when the building is old.

Pre-purchase surveys often recommend that a damp and timber survey should also be carried out. Damp and timber surveys focus specifically on issues of rising and penetrating damp, wood rots or woodworm that can cause structural problems. If the home is old or is showing signs of damp or mould, this type of survey is essential.

If you’re doubt, then it’s best to opt for a specialist damp and timber pre purchase survey. For peace of mind.

Why Should I Get a Pre-Purchase Survey?

Pre-purchase surveys are an additional cost that need to be budgeted for, but they really help in the long term. If you’re worried about the condition of the building, then a pre-purchase survey is the best way to identify problems before you buy the property.

Here are the main reasons why you should always invest in a pre-purchase survey:

  • Identify damp, wood rots and woodworm that could cause structural issues in the future
  • Identify existing structural problems before they pose a danger
  • Receive a correct property valuation based on the condition of the building
  • Negotiate with the current owner to lower the price or fix existing issues before you make the purchase
  • Be prepared for any repairs or work that needs to be carried out in the future, after the purchase
  • Identify any problems, such as condensation or mould, that could cause health issues for yourself and your family

What Are the Risks If I Don’t Have a Pre-Purchase Survey?

Pre-purchase surveys aren’t legally required, but without one you could be risking future problems and dangers with your new home.

Here are the major risks of not having a pre-purchase survey carried out:

  • The real value of your property could be lower if existing issues aren’t taken into account
  • You might need to pay for expensive repair work after you’ve made the purchase
  • Structural problems could result in the building being unsafe to live in
  • Hazards such as damp and mould can cause illness or exacerbate existing underlying medical conditions

Pre-purchase surveys are essential for any homeowner, offering peace of mind, identifying hazards, structural problems, damp and mould, and any pesky woodworm infestations. For homebuyers investing their hard-earned money in a new property, pre-purchase surveys are a must.

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