The only law that applies when buying property is the law of the jungle – better known as “Buyer beware”.

Why book a survey?

If you buy a cereal bar and it turns out to be stale or mouldy, the full force of the law will be on your side. You can demand your money back, or even sue for compensation. If, on the other hand, you purchase a house that turns out to be a damp, beetle-infested, asbestos-ridden hovel – tough. Caveat emptor. So it obviously makes sense to root out any such horrors before you buy.

Whether you decide to arrange a survey or not will depend to some extent on your knowledge of building. There’s nothing to stop you doing your own survey.

Or perhaps you’re planning to demolish and rebuild the place, so why bother?

As with cars, there is a general rule that the older a building is, the more trouble you can expect. But even in relatively modern properties defects often exist, for example where dodgy conservatories and porches have been added. Even new houses aren’t immune. Indeed, the majority of buyers of newly-built homes find faults after moving in.

However, in many properties, even though the fittings and services are getting on a bit, the chances are the building itself will be structurally sound. What you see is pretty much what you get.

On the other hand, appearances can sometimes be deceptive. All manner of gruesome DIY botches and illegal structural alterations may have been carried out. And what if the original builders skimped on the parts that you can’t see, such as the foundations or the drains?

What superficially appears to be a nicely refurbished Victorian terraced cottage may look very different upon closer inspection. Botched alterations and dangerous electrics may be quietly festering beneath the neatly polished exterior. And to judge just how bad a defect really is takes the trained eye of a chartered surveyor.

Our next blog – coming soon …….

What exactly is a survey?


Consider all the info in our Rightsurevy blogs and your chances of success will get a huge boost.  

Check out our Rightsurvey blog page for more industry tips and secrets written by property professionals to help put you in control.