You are not obliged to have a survey carried out but they can save you money in the long term. Studies show that for those people who did not get a survey, on average, one in four had to spend £2,500 to put serious defects right which would have been identified in a Home Condition Survey. For one in ten people, it was £10,000. In contrast, those that did get a proper survey were able to negotiate a reduction in the price of the property by an average of £2,000.
It doesn’t really matter what the name of the survey is as long as the surveyor has the necessary expertise and carries out a complete and thorough inspection of the condition of the whole of the property. During my visit I take plenty of time to look at everything that can reasonably be inspected. I comment on such items as structural movement, timber and damp, environmental and legal issues. All my findings are written in a report format that’s clear and easily understood and which also contains photographs.
Their surveyor is likely to be a direct or panel employee of the lender and is primarily concerned with their interests not yours. They normally fit several appointments into each day which reduces how much time they spend at each property, potentially compromising the level of their inspection. It may cost you a little more but an independent survey will give you direct contact with a local surveyor who may offer you a better and more personal service.
When you buy a flat you will still be responsible for a portion of the costs of the repairs to common parts of the property or block. Most repair costs will be covered within the service charge but sometimes significant repairs are required which demand an additional contribution. Therefore it’s important for you to know, not just the condition of the flat you’re buying, but also the general condition of the exterior of the whole building and any common parts.