Home survey

Over a fifth of home buyers who did not take out a home survey are saddled with a property they would never have bought had they been aware of its true condition before purchase, according to new research by RICS.

Results from RICS’ survey of home buying consumers, released today, show that many homeowners who did not take out a home survey are left with a property they regret buying and an average of £5,750 in repair bills.

The survey of 1,017 buyers across the UK found that consumers are clearly aware of the need for independent advice, with 94% of respondents agreeing it is important to commission a survey. However, nearly a third failed to do so. This means buyers are left ignorant of issues with the property, such as structural defects, dry and wet rot, subsidence and many other faults, only for these to become serious matters at a later date.  The new homeowner may then be unable to afford, or may lose the desire, to fix the faults and may be left with a property they may no longer want to live in but are unable to sell to recoup their losses.

  • 89% of respondents who did not commission a survey now think it is important to take out independent advice.
  • 73% of people who did commission a survey said it provided them with peace of mind and over 50% felt it was value for money.

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions most people will ever make and yet many consumers are doing so blind to the facts. Serious faults are difficult to identify and costly to repair. By not being aware of them consumers are risking a potential home buying time bomb. This can cause extreme stress and financial strain on homeowners who are often stuck with a property they no longer want but cannot sell.

Results from the survey of home buying consumers also showed common misconceptions and lack of understanding amongst consumers. Nearly 60% of respondents incorrectly identified an estate agent’s primary responsibility with 1 in 10 mistakenly believing agent’s act for the buyer, whilst nearly 1 in 5 thinking they act equally for the buyer and seller.

The lack of understanding about the home buying process is putting consumers at increased risk as many fail to take out further independent, expert advice. Agents can and should offer advice to buyers, however, only a surveyor is trained to identify issues with a property. The cost of a survey is a small price to pay for this knowledge and peace of mind.

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