Why are two surveys better than one?

Our lawyer, Fiona McNulty, explains why it is necessary to conduct your own thorough survery before buying a property
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Question: We are buying a house and only require a 50 per cent mortgage. Of course, our lender still wants us to pay for a survey, which we understand.

But is there any point in paying for our own survey, too? The house needs a bit of work and it seems rather a waste of money to pay for two surveys.

Answer: Clearly you realise that work needs to be done to the property but do you have enough experience in "makeovers" to know what needs doing and how much it will cost?

Do remember that your lender is only interested in the value of the property because they want security for the loan. Your solicitor should explain to you the reasons for having a survey done yourself.

One option is a homebuyer's report, which is really a cross between a valuation and a building survey (which used to be called a structural survey). Your lender's valuer may do this for you for an extra fee at the same time as doing the valuation for the lender. However, it is quite superficial and in view of the state of the property you may wish to consider a building survey.

Though a building survey is more expensive it could reveal far more extensive works than you thought were necessary, as a result of which you may wish to renegotiate the purchase price with the seller prior to exchange of contracts and could mean you save money by getting a reduction.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP www.thrings.com.

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