Most people understand the reasons for getting a survey undertaken on a property they are looking to buy. A survey is one of – if not the most important – stages of purchasing a home, with the report completed by a Chartered Surveyor providing vital information on the property’s condition and identifying any issues that may need urgent attention.

For those that take the sensible step of having a survey – unfortunately, this isn’t all buyers – instructing a surveyor is only the first stage.

So what next and how should you proceed to ensure you are best protected moving forward with the purchase?

Get the full picture

The most important point here is to be sure to fully understand the content of your Surveyor’s report. Although most Chartered Surveyors will aim to make their reports as ‘user-friendly’ as possible to their clients, by their nature, they will include terminology specific to the field of property and building maintenance.

If a number of issues are identified in a report, it may be easy to become overwhelmed; not really understanding what the report actually means in terms of the extent of the repairs required or the amount of money that may need to be spent on rectifying issues.

If you are at all unsure what the contents of  your Chartered Surveyor’s report mean or of the potential implications, you should try to get in touch with the firm and speak to the Surveyor that completed the property inspection. Unfortunately, not all Surveyors will be as open to such conversations as others. This is one of the things you should look out for when appointing a surveyor, and one of the benefits of using a local firm rather than a large corporate organisation.

Further investigations

Whilst you will hopefully be happy to proceed with the property purchase on the basis of your Surveyor’s report, this isn’t always the case. You may not want to pull out of the purchase altogether, but you may be left in the dark as to what the potential options are.

If any specific areas of concern have been identified in the RICS Homebuyer Report or Building Survey Report, it may be sensible to instruct further investigations. These may include a structural engineer’s report, a thorough damp report or the testing of services such as electrics, gas boilers and drains.

The results of any specialist reports will likely give an indication of the cost of repair works. It will then be case of deciding what to do with this information and how best to proceed – or not.

Plan a way forward

If the cost of repair works is significant, one option to proceed with the purchase would be to try and renegotiate with the vendor. This could either be offering a reduced sale price to reflect the works required, or insisting that the works are carried out prior to completion.

If negotiations fail, or if you feel the work required is too much, you may ultimately decide that you are not happy proceeding with the purchase. Whilst this can be a difficult thing to do for many reasons, not because you will already be emotionally and financially invested in the property to an extent, it may prove to be the most sensible option in the long-run.

As an independent practice of Chartered Surveyors, Lea Hough offer a personal service to our clients. We always try to make ourselves available to clients following receipt of their survey or valuation report, so you can be sure to understand all of the report’s contents. Whilst the decision of what to do with this information is ultimately up to the client, we are happy to offer further advice / an opinion to help you decide what steps to take next.

Should you require independent advice in relation to a property, or require a RICS Homebuyer Report or Building Survey Report on property you are looking to purchase, please get in touch with us to discuss our services.

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Lea Hough is a trading name of Lea Hough & Co LLP, which is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under partnership number OC306054.
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