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Is it worth getting a survey if you already know there are problems?

(15 Posts)
MooseyMouse Mon 07-Nov-16 04:38:21

We're buying a small terrace house to do up. We already know it needs everything doing (plumbing, damp course, electrics, replaster, roof, windows etc).

Every survey I've ever had has been a catalogue of disclaimers... "The surveyor could not.... access the roof... lift floor coverings... test the heating... test the electrics..." "The buyer is advised to... seek a separate timer and damp report... consider a full structural survey..." Etc.

We're buying it with cash so no mortgage valuation survey required.

I know it's knackered, I know it's damp. So is it worth it or will I be paying hundreds of pounds to be told what I already know?


MooseyMouse Mon 07-Nov-16 04:39:16


lalalonglegs Mon 07-Nov-16 08:27:57

I buy properties like that to do up and I don't bother with surveys because, like you say, I know I have to do everything and surveys are generally full of caveats. It is a risk, however and I do usually find things that I hadn't anticipated (non-standard pipework springs to mind in the last place). Whether the surveyor would have picked that up, who knows?

MooseyMouse Mon 07-Nov-16 10:10:04

Thanks. That's my thinking too.

MimsyPimsy Mon 07-Nov-16 10:41:10

I agree with lala. Don't forget to check for woodworm/rot. We had some in the joists under the ground floor in one house. It wasn't that expensive to fix compared with all the other costs, but worth looking at early on.

FlopIsMyParentingGuru Mon 07-Nov-16 10:55:46

Do you need to get a survey for your mortgage?
It's really your decision about whether you can afford to fix it if something like subsidence is later discovered.

thenewaveragebear1983 Mon 07-Nov-16 11:02:36

Our buyers didn't have a survey but they did have a timber and damp company do a damp check. If the house has laminate floors they can't lift them to check the timbers etc, but they can lift carpets and will check the loft and timbers for beetle infestations or damp. I suppose it depends how big your contingency budget is if you find expensive things you might need to treat.

evilkitten Mon 07-Nov-16 11:16:42

If you don't need the report for mortgage purposes (and you're not going to sue if it's wrong), then it sounds as though what you need is a surveyor to walk you through the house, point out any issues and discuss likely rectifications. Perhaps it's worth approaching a surveyor and seeing if they'd do this for you. Alternatively, if you have a trusted builder, they may be able to do something similar.

Wrinklytights Mon 07-Nov-16 12:20:31

After paying for a survey on our current house and it not picking up lots of expensive problems I would prob agree that it's probably worth it as long as you have a healthy renovation budget than can cope with any unexpected things. I guess it might help you work out a program of works though?

shovetheholly Mon 07-Nov-16 13:04:52

I wonder if surveyors have really done themselves no favours putting in so many clauses that deny liability these days! It's got rapidly worse over the last decade or so, to the point that they seem to have caveated themselves out of a market.

MooseyMouse Mon 07-Nov-16 16:20:57

Thanks everyone. I thought you'd all say I was daft! I'll bear in mind your specific suggestions.

I absolutely agree about surveyors caveating themselves out of the market.

TollgateDebs Mon 07-Nov-16 16:29:13

After a surveyor missing everything, including a number of bloody obvious faults, we don't bother and get a builder to look over the property instead. Many years ago I had a temp assignment for a very well known company of surveyors and that put me off them for life!

Portobelly Mon 07-Nov-16 16:57:30

We didn't get a full survey because we knew it was a complete refurb roof to joists.
But I wish we had.
Because the banks survey stated it was a timber floor construction.
And if we had commissioned it I could now sue them.
The timber floor had been removed and without installing a damp proof course the subfloor area had been Infilled with concrete.
We've dug out 32cubuc metres of rotten concrete, and reinstated the joists ourselves.
We survived.
But had the full survey stated it was timber construction they'd have been liable for this work.

lalalonglegs Mon 07-Nov-16 17:37:45

If there were carpets/other fixed floor coverings in place at the time of survey, Porto, there would have been a caveat saying that the floor was covered and that timber floors were "assumed" so there's no guarantee that the concrete would have been spotted. That's what makes commissioning a survey so frustrating.

lukasgrahamfan Mon 07-Nov-16 21:57:31

I've bought all the houses I've refurbished without a survey as I know the area well and pitfalls of the types of housing here and know what to look for.
I was told by a family friend who is/was a chartered surveyor [!] that taking a good builder round to do a close inspection would do the same job and notice any problems, so save my money. I also have eyes myself and can see pretty much if anything is wrong or if I think things are being hidden.

So I took his advice and have never had a problem selling on any property.

In my experience [when I had mortgages] surveyors do not move furniture or lift carpets etc. which can be hiding a multitude of sins, and are obliged to say 'the roof is coming to the end of it's life' when a property is over a certain age...but the roof is fine and has no problems so will probably go on for decades without needing attention.
In the case of a friend who had a full survey, it did not pick up a roof truss which was fracturing and split a couple of months after she moved in with a terrific noise in the middle of the night!

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