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to not get a homebuyers survey?

(40 Posts)
ellenalex Mon 25-Feb-19 11:29:12

We are buying a 3 bed semi in the South. My DP is very against getting a survey because of the cost and from his friend's experience, it offers no protection as it is full of caveats.

We wouldn't bargain down on price regardless because we got a fairly good deal and there's literally no other houses we like the look of. We were lucky to get this house as every house in our area is selling in days for more than asking (commuter town in home counties).

We had a few small concerns that anyone would have but from reading the homebuyers guidelines they won't even answer it: my concern is that the boiler is not in compliance with regulations as it is not easily accessible. (does anyone know about this, it's in the loft with no ladders attached, you have to manually bring up a ladder in a tight space and it's not exactly safe...?) but they've explicitly said they will not tell you if it complies with regulations and won't 'crawl round the loft' and will only have a look.

We would be looking to build an extension in the next few years. Maybe this is when a survey is helpful? but homebuyers seems inadequate and building still seems inadequate and expensive. Searches showed no issues regarding water/sewage lines.

So are you glad you got a survey? do you think I'm mad in not getting one?

Fullofregrets33 Mon 25-Feb-19 11:37:47

I'm not saying don't get one but we've never had one on the past 3 houses we bought but we are cash buyers. If your getting a mortgage i think you have to have one don't you?

Whisky2014 Mon 25-Feb-19 11:39:48

Yeh i think if you have a mortgage it's written in the contract you need one.

IHateUncleJamie Mon 25-Feb-19 11:42:41

Not only would I get one but I wish we’d got a more comprehensive survey than the basic one the mortgage company insisted on. You might not want to haggle about the price but if there are dangerous issues or even issues that might affect if and when you resell, the vendor should get these rectified before completion.

Things come up over the years that it’s much better to know about upfront.

Hotterthanahotthing Mon 25-Feb-19 11:43:48

If you need a survey for the mortgage then iris worth paying a bit more for a proper structural survey also looking at suitability of an extension.
With the boiler you want the service history or ask them to get one This would fail if the boiler is in a dangerous rather than inconvenient place.

RiverTam Mon 25-Feb-19 11:44:01

depending on the age of the house I would get a full structural survey done, and arrange it myself (ie independently of the building society). Your lenders will insist on something.

DappledThings Mon 25-Feb-19 11:44:34

I've bought 3 times. Always got a survey. Have had issues identified that we either negotiated on or got owners to fix before exchange. Nothing major but needed doing and also things we needed to know for the future.

On the more extreme side my parents had an offer accepted. All looked fine but survey identified serious roof issues that would have cost approx 30k to fix. Vendors wouldn't budge a penny on price. My parents obviously walked away.

Not something I'd ever risk.

Lazypuppy Mon 25-Feb-19 11:45:13

We just did the most basic one our mortgage company would allow us

flamingofridays Mon 25-Feb-19 11:46:03

Yeh i think if you have a mortgage it's written in the contract you need one

not always. Bought 2 houses, both mortgages with Santander and we have never had more than a mortgage valuation survey.

We have had no issues, all they do is point out the issues they can see on the surface (which presumably you would see also) they tend not to lift carpets / wooden floors etc

I would address your concerns about a boiler by having someone gas safe registered look at it as they would be the best person to advise, you could also get a quote for the work that might need doing to make it safe, and ask the sellers to either do the work or knock the cost off the purchase price.

BarbaraofSevillle Mon 25-Feb-19 11:46:51

There's three levels of survey and probably only the highest actually tells the buyer anything useful that they couldn't work out for themselves.

The lowest level is basically to check that the lender will get their money back if you default on the mortgage.

The middle one, which I think is the homebuyer's survey is like what the OP says, so full of caveats to the point of uselessness.

Only the full structural survey will tell you the full condition of the house, and probably only worthwhile if buying something very old.

OP in the circumstances you describe, I'd just go with the minimum level survey that the lender requires and then deal with any issues as they arise. Houses need new roofs, boilers, windows etc periodically, so it's not reasonable to use this sort of issue to try and knock down the price that has already been agreed - you say you are getting a good deal and there is a shortgage of houses that you like.

The worst that could happen is that you have to spend £2-3k getting a new boiler installed in a suitable location in the future, which is a relatively small cost in the whole scheme of house buying.

Whisky2014 Mon 25-Feb-19 11:48:24

not always ok but its worth checking..

thecatsthecats Mon 25-Feb-19 11:51:00

We seem to be the only people to have had a brilliant Homebuyers Survey. It was £300, and the surveyor spotted a condensation problem in the bedroom that the previous owners had failed to fix, and suggested the actual working solution (including a couple of cheaper options we avoided). He also suggested a few options on everything else we might like to fix. Brilliant guy.

PengAly Mon 25-Feb-19 11:52:01

Its a cheap price to pay for peace of mind. If you didn't get a survey and moved in only to discover some serious hidden issues that needed urgent repair. You'd be out of pocket by quite a bit more than the survey would have cost and possibly owning a money pit

MummaGiles Mon 25-Feb-19 11:52:51

If you don’t get one, and something transpires post-completion that needs £1000s spending to rectify that a surveyor would have (or should have) reported on, then you will be very sorry you didn’t spend a couple of hundred quid on a survey. Unless you can afford to swallow the cost of some expensive remedial work I would advise getting a HBS. I would also advise reading the report with a heavy dose of caution (they do tend to ‘back cover’) but it sounds like you would do that anyway!

Movinghouseatlast Mon 25-Feb-19 11:57:37

You only have to have a mortgage valuation survey, not necessarily a homebuyers.

When we were.selling our house there were 2 surveys done. There was not one single issue in common. What does that tell you?

We had specialist surveys only. So electric, boiler and damp/woodworm. When the boiler blew up 2 weeks after the survey the boiler survey man said that the fault must have appeared after the survey.

Honestly, it is all bollocks.

Puzzledandpissedoff Mon 25-Feb-19 11:59:35

Another one agreeing that a Homebuyer's Survey is so full of caveats that there's simply no point

Much better IME to pay a builder, plumber and electrician to have a look round and give you their views. It shouldn't cost any more than the survey and at least you'd get some straightforward answers about the areas which tend to cost most if anything's needed

longearedbat Mon 25-Feb-19 12:00:31

I would always get a full structural survey arranged independently of the lender.
You have already highlighted a problem. What else is there you can't see? It seems a bit mad to spend hundreds of thousands on a house and then skimp on a survey. I know someone who bought a house without a survey, which all looked lovely and in good condition, and then had to spend a small fortune on underpinning. A full structural survey would at least have given her a reason to bargain the price down to cover the cost of the works.
Also, I would not buy a house with an inaccessible boiler. I would want money off to cover the cost of moving it at least, but what a faff.

twoshedsjackson Mon 25-Feb-19 12:02:09

Before I bought this house, I had a survey done.
It turned out that, when the kitchen was replastered (just done, not moved on to redecoration) the plasterer had cut corners, and used the cheaper stuff which works for living rooms, but not the steam-resistant stuff a kitchen needs (I think the term is "hygroscopic") - it would have got damper every time a kettle boiled.
Also, the house was built without a damp course, which the previous owner had had installed. It was working, but there was old damp in the living room from before the installation. (Victorian house).
The owner was keen not to take a lower offer; she had already moved out (remarried) and the house was standing empty.
She offered to have the necessary replastering done at her expense while the house stood empty, if I stuck to my original offer - something to do with getting a certain sum when obtaining a new mortgage.
I agreed, and the work was duly done before I moved in.
I had the benefit of not having to live in a house being replastered (the dust this raises is horrendous) and not discovering the need for the work later, when I had redecorated to my taste.
The surveyor's fee paid for itself; I think it would have been worth it for peace of mind, even if no glaring faults were found.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Mon 25-Feb-19 12:04:09

You’d have to factor in the cost of a new boiler straight away and somewhere to site it. It sounds downright dangerous where it is. If there are things that are very obvious to you, there will be things that aren’t obvious to you. I’d havea proper survey. It will cost you money in the short term, but could save you thousands long term.

Elphame Mon 25-Feb-19 12:05:15

Wouldn't dream of buying a house without a decent survey - homebuyers are a waste of time.

I don't understand being prepared to risk hundreds of thousands of pounds on not having one

Nquartz Mon 25-Feb-19 12:12:32

My parents are in the process of moving, spent about £400 on a survey which highlighted issues & as a result got a full structural survey. After all this they've negotiated £10k off the price to cover the cost of doing the repair works.
The people who bought our old house only did the valuation survey but more fool them as there was damp which we were expecting to pay to fix or drop the price accordingly.
I'd never buy a house without one, I'd just factor it in as a cost of buying a house.

YorkshireLass81 Mon 25-Feb-19 12:18:59

We bought our house last year and got the home buyers survey. We found it really useful in flagging things up for us. Discovered there was no building regs for when they took a supporting wall down between the kitchen and dining room and that one of the conservatory windows was "blown". Both were rectified by the current owner before we proceeded along with a few other little things. It also gave a lot of info on the house and helped us think about and prioritise a programme of maintenance moving forwards.

flirtygirl Mon 25-Feb-19 12:21:45

Homebuyers survey are not worth anything, get a full survey. Even if a full survey highlights problems, the vendors may not agree to drop the price. You will have to choose to go ahead or walk away.

If you really don't want to get a survey then if you know a knowledgeable builder who you trust then they may spot more than even a surveyor. Even the ones with all the qualifications after their names can be rubbish. It can be better to get people in to check the roof, check the electrics, check the boiler and check the plumbing.

Surveyors check the structure but I have not come across any who actually check the boiler, electrics and plumbing properly. Plumbing check has been to run the taps and flush the toilet then ask where the drains are.

longearedbat Mon 25-Feb-19 12:24:16

@N quartz that reminds me of when I sold my last house. I loved it dearly but it had quite a few, er, problems. The purchasers just has the cheapest survey required for their mortgage. The chap came in, walked once round the house, had a cup of coffee (which took longer than the 'survey') and left. The house was over 250 years old too. I thought my buyers were being very naive.

Waveysnail Mon 25-Feb-19 12:34:49

We always got full survey. Structural problems eek

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