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Who can arrange a property survey? Anyone.

By Sophia Wood-Burgess

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Buyers traditionally arrange and pay for surveys once their offer has been accepted. Good surveyors can spot what the untrained eye can’t, and tell buyers honestly what to expect down the road. Surveyors work to give buyers confidence and clarity in one of the biggest purchases in their lives. They can actually do this for vendors, too.

Arnold & Baldwin, the property surveyors Foxtons trust the most, say “Buyers who do not get a survey face on average £5,650 in repair costs, and this data was before Brexit and inflation” so it’s an important thing to consider. If you want a survey, you should write it into your offer letter. A survey has the potential to slow down your property purchase, so you should book it as soon as possible.

We discuss the offer letter in detail in our blog, Making an offer: how to negotiate when buying a home.

It is important to remember that mortgage valuations are for the benefit of your lender, and not the buyer. These valuations will only highlight the most serious defects for lending purposes. The lender may not even send a surveyor to inspect the property, it could be an Automated Valuation Model (AVM ) or desktop valuation. It is very important to have an independent survey commissioned to give you greater detail on the condition of the property, highlighting possible maintenance issues you may need to consider.

The important thing for a buyer to do, especially if the survey brings up an issue, is to talk to the surveyor. Be sure you understand what would need to happen to fix the issue. If you love the property otherwise, it might not be a deal breaker. It could even work into your negotiations. You can ask for a discount on the price and do the repairs once the property is yours, or you can ask that the repairs be completed by the vendors before you complete the purchase. Arnold & Baldwin partner with tradesmen to fix the issues for you.

If a buyer asks for a survey

home surveyWhen vendors are told the buyer has asked for a survey, they often get nervous, wondering if a surveyor will find something they hadn’t anticipated. However, there’s reason to be positive, too. Vendors should remember – a buyer is not going to pay for a survey to be undertaken unless they are genuinely planning on buying a property, so it’s a big step.

If you’re a vendor in need of a quick sale (for instance, if you’re trying to complete an onward move) and you see a subject to survey contingency on the offer letter, you might be frustrated. Your agent may be able to talk with the buyer about your time frame, and you might want to look for a surveyor that can fit a survey in soon. However, there’s another thing vendors facing a deadline can do. They get the survey undertaken on their own property first.

A survey will reveal exactly what you’re dealing with, so there are no last-minute surprises to interrupt a good sale. You can fix any problems the survey turns up if you have the time. Otherwise, you might want to factor them into the asking price and explain them to the potential buyers at the start. This gesture of honesty can help move things along quickly and build trust with your buyer.

Who we suggest

Arnold & Baldwin logoArnold & Baldwin are the property surveyors who regularly provide expert insight for our buyers and vendors. Arnold & Baldwin are regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and we cannot influence their surveys. They give the honest third-party information that you can use to make decisions, avoid expensive surprises and have confidence in your offer or asking price.

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