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Surveys - waste of time?

(3 Posts)
greentown Thu 02-Jun-11 09:22:20

Okay, so I know we have to have surveys to get mortgages and sometimes they save us from disaster but, in this age where surveyors are covering their backs against possible legislation by basically absolving themselves of any responsibility and liability for their comments - is there really any point? I wonder whether an experienced builder couldn't do just as well - given that, at the end of the day, whatever the survey says, you're on your own when it comes to making the final decision.
I see the point of mortgage valuations, and I think you get your money's worth, quite cheap and do what they say on the tin.
Homebuyers Reports - utter waste of money apart from the valuation aspect. Never seen one that didn't say unless you get a full structural survey, then I am not liable for any of the decisions you make based on my report.
Full Structural - I think this might be the most dubious of all because people think this is a 'guarantee' of houseworthiness and it's most definitely not. Still, way too many get-outs for surveyor, always recommending extra surveys by 'experts'- way too much back-watching and liability dodging.
It's occurred to me that a surveyor's main objective in doing ANY report is to avoid being sued and the best way to achieve this is to make sure the purchaser Doesn't buy the house!!!
They get paid if you buy it, but 'potentially' could be sued on a full structural survey - hence all the caveats and conditions and buck passing.
But if you don't buy the house, they still get paid and they can't be sued - hey presto - the perfect solution to earning your living as a surveyor.
Always paint the absolute worst possible picture of a house in the hope that the purchaser won't buy it thus freeing yourself from any potential litigation.
If they do buy the house - make sure you have so many get outs you can't be sued.
Either way you win but the best way is if you do the survey and they don't buy the house.
Does this not seem perverse... ?

Gonzo33 Thu 02-Jun-11 11:55:55

I don't think survey's are a waste of time. Having been a mortgage advisor I have seen too many people fall in love with a house, not get a full survey done and then find that they have bought something which isn't as they thought. Then ended up spending a lot of money that they didn't have.

Personally I think if you get a good surveyor (I know they are like rocking horse dung) then you are on to a good thing.

You mention about getting a builder to take a look instead, but do you really trust builders anymore than you do surveyors? I have good friends that are good builders, but I know if they weren't friends of mine they'd do the sucking through teeth routine!

greentown Thu 02-Jun-11 12:41:31

Fair points - but I don't think that there might be that much difference between an experienced builder's report and a surveyor.

You can't/shouldn't fundamentally trust either of them 100%

It's an illusion to think that a surveyor is acting solely in your interests - he's acting predominantly in his own interests - earning fees without taking any risks in putting his reputation on his reports.

A builder might be weighing up how much he can (over)charge you BUT a surveyor is covering his back at your expense.

Which one has more to lose - the surveyor - whose whole 'professional' status rests on reports which aren't worth tuppence when it comes to legal liability - yet people make life-changing investments on the basis of that advice.

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