What do surveyors look for?
FACT: You have more legal protection buying a Mars bar – than a house!
If the property you’ve just bought turns out to be a rapidly subsiding money pit – then tough. The seller of the house or flat that you’re buying, along with their estate agents, have no legal duty to tell you about any defects. This is a classic Buyer Beware situation (or as the Romans put it ‘Caveat Emptor’).
So getting the condition professionally assessed before you spend hundreds of thousands of pounds is obviously advisable, potentially saving you a small fortune in repair bills, as well as cutting out a lot of worry.
Based on many years of experience, and with a trained eye, surveyors can tell when something looks worse than it is, and will know what you’d normally expect to see bearing in mind the age and type of house. Conversely they know when a defect is of sufficient concern to ring alarm bells. So it’s normally a good idea to arrange either a Homebuyer survey or a ‘full structural’ Building Survey.
However it’s still a good idea as a prospective buyer to take a good look around yourself. You might see things that you want to bring to the attention of the surveyor so they can advise you in detail, such as cracking, damp patches or dodgy structural alterations, Or you might want to get an informed opinion about the property’s future potential for converting the loft or extending.
So as a guide to making a preliminary assessment of your intended purchase we’ve briefly listed some of the common defects that surveyors look for in each main element of a typical property:-
Windows doors & joinery
Ceilings, internal walls & fireplaces
N.B. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and much depends on the age and type of property you’re surveying