Caveat Emptor – Buyer Beware!
In the UK, property is bought under the principle of caveat emptor: Latin for “let the buyer beware”. Although the buyer and estate agent have a duty to not withhold any information from the homebuyer, many defects may be hidden and the seller may be unaware of them.
It is the buyers responsibility to complete due diligence on the property before buying, as after completion they will be financially responsible for repairing anything uncovered.
With the help of an RICS Chartered Surveyor, you can enter a property transaction with detailed information on the most urgent or serious issues with your potential purchase. Once you are aware of any defects and the independent market value of the property, you can make a fair and informed offer that reflects the true state and value of the property.
What the Surveys Cover
There are four surveys in the RICS home survey suite that can provide information on the value or condition of a property. Which types of survey you commission will depend on the type of property you are buying, along with the type of information you are looking to obtain.
If you are looking for information about the physical condition of a property, there are three levels of RICS Survey: RICS Condition Report, RICS HomeBuyer Report and RICS Building Survey. Which level of survey you commission will depend on the age and tenure of the property you are buying. Both the Condition Report and HomeBuyer Report are concise reports and suitable for standard construction properties, built no earlier than 1900. Large, dilapidated or unusual properties require the Building Survey, which is the most in-depth report, completed by a Chartered Surveyor.
If you are only interest in determining the property’s value, then you the type of survey you require is the RICS Valuation, which will give a more substantiated market value. The inspection is longer than a mortgage valuation and the report is more detailed. The valuation survey is suitable for all property types and
Is a Survey Worth the Money?
Buying a property can be an expensive process and homebuyers are always looking for ways to reduce costs where they can. So is an RICS home survey worth the money?
A property is one of the biggest purchases many people may make in their life and it is important to make sure it is a safe investment. In 2014, homebuyers who bought a property without an independent survey faced average repairs bills of £5,750. If you are unfortunate enough to uncover more serious defects such as Japanese Knotweed, the cost can far exceed this.
If you suspect a property has Japanese Knotweed, you can obtain a free identification by emailing a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org . This is a free service offered by Japanese Knotweed Ltd, the UK’s largest knotweed contractor and a member of the Property Care Association (PCA).
In 2014, 17% of buyers without a survey faced repair bills of £12,000. To ensure you don’t uncover costly hidden defects when you purchase, you should seek the help of a Chartered Surveyor.