Conveyancing Surveys – What are they and how useful can they be?

When acting for clients in conveyancing matters, it is the conveyancer’s responsibility to ensure that they have highlighted to their client all the potential risks that may affect their transaction. This duty becomes more important where the client is buying a property, in relation to which the client may have little or no previous knowledge as to its condition.

It is a common misconception that a mortgage valuation survey is a comprehensive appraisal of the condition of the property. However, it simply provides the lender with information to compare the amount that they are lending on the property to its actual value. It is not based on a detailed evaluation of the property and does not look closely at the property to determine whether there may be any issues affecting it. Notwithstanding this, the lender usually charges the borrower for the cost of a mortgage valuation survey.

A Homebuyer’s Survey will tell you the actual condition of the property. Whilst it may appear to be an additional cost when you are already paying for other searches to be carried out by your conveyancer, a Homebuyer’s Survey can actually save you money and should be carried out before exchange of contracts, so you do not at that point have an obligation to go through with the transaction.

A survey may identify problems with the property, which can be used by the conveyancer to re-negotiate the sale price of the property to reflect the necessary costs for repairs. A survey could also reveal a fundamental issue with the property which puts you off from buying the property altogether. This could be that the survey has revealed that renovation works are needed at the property which could cost a substantial amount of money.

Conversely, a survey can also help a seller to secure the agreed price by evidencing the condition of the property and its marketability. It can be used to persuade the buyer to proceed with the purchase and can assist with the quick sale of a property if time is of the essence for the seller.

Homebuyer’s Surveys can be obtained from a number of providers but it is recommended that the surveyor is regulated by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to ensure that the survey is conducted with the highest standards possible which in turn means that the survey itself carries more weight.

Mohammed works within the conveyancing team in the Cardiff office. Should you require assistance with a conveyancing matter, please contact the team on 02920 2038 8398 or email Mohammed on m.ali@sinclairslaw.co.uk

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