How surveys can affect house sales
If you accept an offer to buy your house, it’s common for your prospective buyer to organise a survey – but how can this affect your sale?
House surveys are intended to reveal the condition of a residential property and inform your buyer of any problems that may cause them concern. As a seller, this can be a frustrating process, as it is entirely your buyer’s choice whether to obtain a survey – before they make a final decision on the purchase – and you may not always agree with the surveyor’s findings.
There are two main areas of worry for vendors, especially if you want to sell your house quick:
- Discovery of serious problems which make your buyer decide not to go ahead with the purchase.
- Discovery of major problems that change their view on the value of the property – and cause them to reduce their offer.
In both cases, you can offer to fix the problems or simply refuse to change the price. However, these are risky strategies, as there’s no guarantee your buyer will remain interested; and you could end up spending a great deal of money without a worthwhile result.
Even without a survey, most buyers will need to obtain a mortgage valuation. This is an assessment of the property’s value to reassure the mortgage lender. In the event of serious concerns, such as signs of rising damp, the surveyor may recommend that lender orders further checks and reports – and even repairs – which could cause a delay.
Some buyers ask for a survey to be done at the same time as the mortgage valuation, but they can choose a different surveyor if they prefer. Surveyors undergo intensive training and certification by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and are required to continue updating their skills and knowledge throughout their career.
There are three main types of survey:
- Condition report – A basic assessment of the property’s condition, to reassure the buyer.
- Homebuyer’s report – A more in-depth survey designed to highlight any problems and give advice.
- Building survey – A thorough examination of the property.
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