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A bad house survey isn’t the end of the world

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January 17, 2014
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house 2You’ve spent months or years searching for your dream home, but then the building survey for your house returns – and it’s bad news.

A bad survey is never a cause for celebration, but it might not mean the end of your dream.

For a start, you’re a step ahead of the home-buyers who chose not to have a comprehensive survey: a fifth of such buyers find themselves saddled with a house they would never have bought had they been aware of its true condition.

Of this number, the average repair bill to put right hidden home horrors is a staggering £5,750, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

And it’s often the buyers that can least afford problems who find themselves living in a nightmare property rather than their dream home – young and first-time buyers are the least likely to commission a full survey.

Remember that a mortgage lender’s Valuation Report is not a comprehensive home survey – it is simply a means for your lender to determine whether the property you wish to buy is worth the amount you wish to pay for it.

Valuation Reports will highlight serious issues which could affect the value of the property – they don’t offer a detailed account of all the issues your potential home may be hiding. A survey is independent and impartial and allows you to make an informed decision about the purchase of your potential home.

Although it might feel like a big expense when you’re counting the pennies, remember that a home is the biggest purchase you will ever make and it pays to ensure that it’s not also your biggest mistake.

A survey could actually save you thousands of pounds, offering you the option to walk away from a problematic property or the ammunition you need to negotiate a price reduction with the owners.

To help you through the potential minefield of a bad house survey, Adrian Flux Insurance Services has compiled a guide to what to do if your surveyor has bad news.

iStock_000013935839XSmallWhat to do if you have a bad house survey:

Remember why you commissioned a survey in the first place and imagine how you’d have felt if you’d bought a house with costly, hidden problems.

It’s worth finding out how much problems will cost to fix before you walk away: get at least two quotes for the work that needs to be carried out and then go back to the owner to renegotiate the price.

Although we generally buy a home with our hearts and not our heads, be clear what your budget is and don’t exceed it.

Bear in mind the time that repairs will take and the fact that costs could exceed the quotation you have been given.

About 75 per cent of people who receive a bad house survey are able to successfully negotiate a drop in price.

If you don’t understand the terminology in a house survey, ask for a full explanation. Sometimes, problems look worse on paper than they are in reality.

Remember that it may be difficult to get buildings and contents insurance on your new home if the house has unresolved issues.

If you love the house, consider splitting the cost of repairs with the seller.

Once you’ve bought your home, make sure you have the right home insurance to cover you and your needs – Adrian Flux is one of the leading specialist home insurance brokers in the UK and can offer great rates on all kinds of properties. Visit or call 0800 3698590 for more details.

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