Buying a house with no survey: What to know
It's possible to skip a survey, but is it a good idea?
Last updated on
May 30, 2022 12:22
Look through any guide to home-buying, and you’re likely to find “Book property survey” as an item to tick off your list. But is it totally necessary? Given the costs and stresses involved in the journey to home ownership, buying a house with no survey might seem like a cheaper and more convenient option.
To help you make up your mind, let’s take a look at the ins and outs of property surveys – and whether they’re worth investing in.
Spoiler alert – in almost every case, it’s probably a good idea to do one. But read on for more detail to help you make up your mind .
A property survey is where the property you want to buy is thoroughly inspected by a qualified surveyor – a buildings expert.
After their inspection, the surveyor gives you a report on the condition of the property, which should flag up any major structural issues. The level of detail in the report will depend on the type of survey (more on that later).
It’s a good idea to get one for most types of property, but especially if the property is old or unusual (a 16th century thatched cottage, for example).
You would normally aim to have the survey done before you exchange contracts. That means, if the survey uncovers any issues, you have the chance to renegotiate the purchase price of the property or ask the seller to make repairs before going ahead with the sale.
Getting a house survey isn’t something you have to do legally, so you might wonder if skipping this step might be a way to simplify the home-buying process.
Here, we explore a few reasons why you might consider buying a house with no survey:
Also, it’s best not to assume that the Property Information Form (TA6) that you get from the seller will tell you everything you need to know about the property. They might not give you the full facts, or there could be an issue they’re not aware of themselves.
Getting a survey helps makes sure you’re fully informed about the property you want to buy. If the survey report comes back with no significant issues, you can go ahead with the sale with peace of mind. Or, if it does find problems, you have the option of:
Without a house survey, you’re giving up the opportunity to learn about potentially serious issues with the property, which could include:
If you discover one or more of these problems after you’ve bought the property, it could have a big impact on your quality of life and your finances. For example, you might have to find somewhere else to live while repairs are being carried out, and you could be faced with a hefty bill for the repairs themselves.
There’s also the possibility that everything will seem fine until you come to sell the property, a potential buyer gets a survey done, and they find an underlying issue that was there all along. This could then discourage them from going ahead with the sale.
All this isn’t to say that you will definitely face major problems if you buy a home without a survey. Of course, that’s not always going to be the case. But it’s better to know as much as you can about your future home before you commit to buying it.
We would say that the only really good reason for buying a house with no survey is if you’re a surveyor or experienced builder yourself. Or perhaps if you have a trusted friend from one of those professions who can take a look at the property for you.
Otherwise, hiring a qualified surveyor is still the way to go.
The best place to start is to contact a few local surveyors for quotes, so you can make sure you’re getting good value for money. The cost will depend on the property size, type, and location, and the type of survey you choose.
Make sure any surveyor you consider is a registered member of a recognised industry body, like the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
You also need to decide what type of survey to go for. Here are the different types of surveys offered by the RICS:
The Residential Property Surveyors Association (RSPA) also offers similar types of surveys, with prices ranging from £400 to £900.
Finally, if you’re hoping to buy a new-build property, you might consider a new-build snagging survey. This is an independent inspection specifically aimed at spotting issues in new properties – anything from pencil marks on the skirting boards to unfinished plumbing.
Once you’ve shown this report to your developer, they’re obliged under warranty to sort out any problems.
Habito Plus provides you with complete support throughout your home-buying journey. That includes all your legal work and sorting out the property survey. No stress, no fuss, just a helping hand every step of the way.
A short guide to everything first-time homebuyers need to know, including how to make an offer on a property and what happens when it’s accepted.
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