What is a home buyers drain survey?
Check your property’s water and sewage systems and flag up issues before you buy
Last updated on
Jun 1, 2022 10:37
A home buyers drain survey is a check you can do on a property before buying. It’s an in-depth look at the drains – the underground pipes that take water and sewage away from the home. You don’t need to do one (unless your lender insists), but it can help flag potential issues with pipework, drainage, infestations, or your property’s structure.
Drain surveys aren’t usually included in a standard home buyers survey – the general “property health check” potential buyers do before moving in. But your mortgage provider might ask you to get one done before they give you a mortgage.
Just like a standard survey, if you do one, it usually happens after your offer has been accepted but before you sign anything. That way, you’ve got time to back out of the sale (or renegotiate your offer) if it uncovers anything serious.
So, here’s everything you need to know about home buyers drain surveys – from what they involve to why it might be a good idea to do one.
A drain survey is a thorough inspection of the pipes connecting a property to the water network (also known as the drainage system).
Every house with running water has a drain system, but they’re hidden away underground, out of sight. Unless there’s a serious issue – like flooding or a bug infestation – you won’t usually give your drains a second thought. But before buying a house, it can be a good idea to make sure everything works as it should.
That’s precisely what drainage surveys are for. Drain surveyors – the engineers who do the survey – will use CCTV equipment to take a deep dive into your drains.
They will look for two things: potential problems and the size of your drainage system.
The most important part of a drain survey will be the hunt for potential drainage problems, such as:
While none of these might be a problem now, they could become problems in the future. Drain surveys make sure everything’s working as it should before you sign on the dotted line.
As part of the survey, drain surveyors will usually give you a map or plan of your drains, so you can see where your drains connect to the national water network.
This might not grab you as the most interesting document in the world, but it can be a handy way to clarify your legal responsibilities as a homeowner.
For example, if there’s a problem with the drainage in the future, this plan can tell you if it’s your job to fix it, a neighbour’s, or your water supplier.
Here’s the thing: you don’t need to do a home buyer drain survey. So, it could be tempting to simply avoid the extra expense, particularly as you’ve already had your offer accepted. But:
Ultimately, it’s your call whether to do a drain survey – and there are a few pretty good reasons to get one:
Home buyers drainage surveys are done before you move in, but after the seller has accepted your offer. That means it’s one of the final stages of your house buying journey – just before you finalise the contracts.
Here’s how the whole process works:
Potential buyers tend to get a drain survey done by one of two people:
How much does a drain survey cost? Depending on your area, and the size of your property and any land that comes with it, a home buyers drain survey can range between £100 and £400. It’s best to get a few quotes before choosing a surveyor.
It can feel like an extra hassle to have to organise yet another survey when you have quite a lot on your plate already. But a drain survey should only take between one and two hours.
At the end of your drainage survey, you’ll typically get three things:
If your lender has requested that you do a drain survey, it’s worth asking them what they would like to see.
Armed with the results, you’ll have a better idea of the condition of the property.
If everything is in fine working order, it can give you extra peace of mind before you complete the purchase.
If not, you have a few options. Depending on the condition of the drains, you could get them fixed at your own expense, renegotiate the price of the property, or walk away from the deal.
There can be a lot to think about when buying a home. At Habito, we offer full support throughout the entire process, from finding the right lender to getting a detailed survey on the property.
Take the hassle out of buying a home with Habito Plus.
How do you prove you’re eligible for a mortgage? Learn how lenders assess your eligibility, and how to strengthen your mortgage application.
The lowdown on the legal stuff - how it works, what it’s going to cost you, how long it will take, and more.
A home survey is a detailed inspection of a property that tells you if there are any problems with it before you buy it. Here’s everything you need to know.
Habito specialises in helping you get the best mortgage or remortgage, all online, for free