Our Chartered Surveyors are often asked this question when discussing properties with potential clients and it’s a perfectly reasonable one to ask.
On face value, many properties look in good condition and, as was the case in the example below, the client initially felt that having a survey done was an unnecessary expense!
Looking at the picture, most people would think, “Looks OK to me, doesn’t it??”
When in the process of buying a new property, many purchasers base their decision on key factors: got the right number of bedrooms? Check. Got a decent garden? Check. In the best area for work and schools? Check. All seems perfect.
But did you check for structural defects, such as subsidence caused by nearby coal mines, or that the extension has been signed off by building regulations. No?
Well, these can easily be missed and without the expertise and the trained eye of a Chartered Surveyor, once you’ve purchased the property these issues you weren’t aware of could surprise you with a high repair fee, sometimes running to tens of thousands!
By instructing a local surveyor, you’re made aware of the ‘full picture’ when buying your new home, helping reduce the risk and uncertainty in your purchase decision.
The general aim of a survey and report is to help you make an informed decision on whether to go ahead with the purchase, whether the price being asked is reasonable. This takes into account any replacements or repairs the property needs, with guidance on what further advice you should take before committing to the purchase.
Even after instruction, consultancy work is offered to advise the prospective home buyer sufficiently to meet their issues and take their queries to a full conclusion. In the case study below, our surveyor spent time with the client discussing fully the key issues identified well after the initial instruction had been completed.
Case study: Issue raised by surveyor, remedial action taken by home owner
A property in Melksham, which was first surveyed in July 2014. As shown in the image, a steel beam, which is supporting the chimney in the picture above, is being supported itself by a timber beam. The chimney was also on the party wall line so it affected the neighbouring property.
The timber beam, just like any natural resource, will degrade, shrink and crack over time. If left for an exponential amount of time, it would create a weakness in the chimney support, creating visible external cracks on the property’s walls and chimney as well as the neighbouring property around the party wall line – a recipe for expensive civil litigation!
When noted in the formal report, this issue was given a Condition rating “3” as defined; “A ‘3’ rating identifies defects to those elements of the property which the surveyor considers are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.”
When the property was re-surveyed in October 2014, the support mechanism has been changed from a timber beam to a steel beam, as suggested in our formal report.
Without the original survey in July, a prospective buyer could have bought the property without realising the potential damages to their property and to their new neighbours, which could have arisen from not having an appropriate support mechanism, resulting in high repair bills and possible legal action. In essence, a small outlay during the purchase saved them thousands in the medium term.
Throughout the process, our Surveyor was on hand to answer any questions and guide the client through their options – even well after the instruction had been completed. Right Surveyors take pride in offering a high quality of service and customer care – contact us to find out how your Local Right Surveyor could help you.
By Emma Harding of Right Surveyors Wiltshire & East Somerset