What are the risks of buying a house without a survey?

There are a number of risks of buying a house without a survey including the following:

1. Unexpected surprises and potential financial loss

The main risk of not arranging a survey when buying a house is that it can be very costly if you run into problems once you have bought the house. 

There could be structural defects caused by subsidence which you haven’t budgeted for, or health risks due to environmental considerations such as radon gas in the land below the property. All of which you would not be aware of without a professional survey.

Getting a survey makes you aware of all the issues with the property so that you can make a more informed decision as to whether you want to proceed with the purchase and whether you can afford the extra costs that may be involved. 

2. No grounds to renegotiate the property price

Knowing about these defects through a survey will put you in a more solid position to renegotiate a lower price if there is a lot of work to be done on the property.  

The very fact that you are in a position to relay this information from a credible professional source will add a great deal of weight to any request for a price adjustment. 

The survey is also a critical source of information for solicitors driving the conveyancing process because it summarises issues that they need to be aware of before contracts are exchanged. 

Based on this information, questions can be raised for the seller’s solicitor such as, “does planning permission exist” or “does the house need to be re-wired”. You are then able to calculate how much these may cost and re-negotiate the overall price.

3. Lack of expert judgment

No professional advice means that defects could go undetected because the untrained eye will not be able to say if a crack in a wall is due to a structural defect or whether it requires a simple decorating job. 

A survey may also come with cost estimates so that you have an approximate idea of how much you need to spend on the property as a matter of urgency. 

4. No accurate valuation may mean overpaying for the property

Even though a mortgage valuation will be carried out by the lender, it is good to have some impartial information provided to you as part of your own survey. 

The valuation that your mortgage lender will do is there to establish whether the property is worth the requested loan, whereas the surveyor is likely to advise on the property’s actual market value. 

Is it Ok to buy a house without a survey?

Yes, you can buy a house without a survey but it would be foolhardy. Everyone is strongly advised to get a survey from an appropriately qualified chartered surveyor whether it's the Homebuyer Report or the more detailed Building Survey.

Unfortunately, many people still think a property survey is an unnecessary expense and so they fail to protect one of the most significant purchases they are ever likely to make. 

There are so many potential risks when buying a property that you may not be able to detect just by looking at it. 

Do you need a survey if you are a cash buyer?

You don’t need a survey if you are a cash buyer, but the same principles outlined above apply.

You could argue that it is even more important to have a survey as a cash buyer because there is no mortgage valuation report for peace of mind. 

With the potential risks at stake, it is better to be on the safe side and be aware of what you are purchasing.

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