Property purchasing; does it come with a money-back guarantee?

June 21 , 2012
June 21 , 2012

Property purchasing; does it come with a money-back guarantee?

It’s a fact – the recession has hit the housing market hard.  The last few years have seen the housing marketing sink.  It has been a tough time for everyone. However, there appears to be a glimmer of hope with house prices slightly on the increase, banks and building societies beginning to offer better mortgage deals and the removal of the home information packs which did not really aid anything to either a seller or a buyer.

Careful consideration

Whether the housing market is booming or not, one thing is for sure, buying your home is probably going to be one of the biggest investments in your life.  It requires careful consideration of your budget.  Making such a huge commitment, you would need to ensure that what you are buying is worth the money you are willing to spend for it.

If you are considering buying a property, give careful consideration to having a survey of the property carried out as well.  Most of us buy our homes with the help of a loan from a bank or building society who will usually carry out their own valuation of the property.  This valuation, however, is not a survey.  It will only confirm that the price the property is being sold at is good for the amount of money the bank is lending to you. The bank’s valuation will not provide details as to the condition of the property.

Survey about surveys

Research carried out by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has revealed:-

  • More than 50% of homebuyers incorrectly thought that their bank’s valuation was a survey and included a report as to the condition and state of the property
  • Just over 30% of homebuyers believed that the valuation provided recommendations that their lawyer should investigate for them
  • More than 75% of homebuyers agreed that having a more detailed survey report instead of just a valuation carried out by their bank would allow them to negotiate a better purchase price with the seller.

We all live in the real world and we all know that everything is not perfect.  With so many television shows on how to do up your home so you can sell it quickly, who can blame a seller wanting to give their home a cosmetic makeover to achieve the best price possible?

Whilst the property may be presented in a tidy state and looks perfect, there could be a number of underlying defects that only a survey carried out by a qualified surveyor would reveal.

Which survey should you go for?

When buying your home, you have the option of two different types of surveys available:-

(a)        A homebuyer’s report – the most commonly used one for homebuyers;

(b)        A full structural building survey

The homebuyer’s report provides an inspection and report on the actual condition of the property together with a valuation.  The report also provides any recommendations that the property could be benefit from.

A full structural survey is more expensive than a homebuyer’s report and is usually only carried out when the property is in a bad state of repair or has been significantly altered or renovated.

The results

The survey report, whether it is a homebuyer’s report or a full structural survey, will provide recommendations as to whether any works are necessary to be carried out to the property.  This is very useful for a buyer as it can be used as a negotiating tool with the seller in seeking a reduction of the purchase price.  Alternatively, you can ask the seller to carry out the works themselves in time for when you move in to your new home.

The most common issues that are revealed in a survey report include whether or not the property is in need of damp proofing or timber treatment works, whether or not it has been extended or altered in any way, for example if any of the chimney breasts or non-structural walls in the property have been removed, if the central heating system is in good working order and if all the services including water, gas and electricity are properly connected.

Having a survey carried out before committing to purchasing the property will help you to ensure that you are paying the right price for the property and also enable you to negotiate a better deal with the seller if any works are required to be done.  The last thing anyone wants is to spend a lot of money in buying a property, only to be stung with nasty surprises down the line, which ends up requiring more money to be spent in putting the defects right.


Buying a home is not like buying goods during your weekly shopping trip at your local supermarket.  If the goods in your trolley are faulty or damaged, you can take them back and ask for a refund or replacement.  Unfortunately, it is not that simple when buying your home.  Once you have completed your purchase, the property is yours.  You will be stuck with any faults or damage that only come to light after you have purchased, together with the cost of putting them right. Buying your home definitely does not come with a money back guarantee.

Having a survey carried out will reduce the risk of this ensuring you are fully aware as to the condition of the property before committing yourself to buying it. Spending a few hundred pounds at the beginning of your purchase may help you to save thousands in the future and negotiate a better deal for your home.

If you are thinking of buying or selling your home or would like further information on surveys or general property advice, please contact Saracens Solicitors on 0207 725 7115.

By Varsha Shah
Residential Conveyancing 

Saracens Solicitors

Photo Credit:Images_of_Money


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