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Is it worth the gamble: Do I need a survey on my new build home?

A common misconception in the surveying world is that you don’t need to have a building survey done if you’re planning to buy a new build property.

In this post, we’ll take a look at why buying any property without a survey — regardless of its age — should be considered a risk.

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The rise of new build properties

In recent years, there’s been an urgent call for more housebuilding in the UK, with experts predicting that 250,000 new homes are required every year if we are to begin to tackle the country’s housing deficit.

Official figures show that the number of new build dwelling starts in the year to June 2017 totalled 164,960, an increase of 13% compared with the year to June 2016. During the same period, completions totalled 153,330, an increase of 11% compared with last year. With the trend set to continue, many of us may find ourselves opting for new build homes in the near future. And if we do, it’s important to understand what kinds of checks are necessary before committing to a purchase.

Why do I need a survey?

When you buy a new property, as a general rule, you should always have what’s commonly known as a ‘building condition survey’ conducted on the property to determine its condition. The expense of such surveys at a time when buyers are already spending a great deal of money on the property itself means that many consider skipping this stage of the buying process. However, there are a number of reasons why it doesn’t pay to skip the survey.

The results of a building survey can help buyers to determine how much they’re willing to pay for the property and whether they have the excess budget to pay for any necessary repair work. On some occasions, buyers might even use the data from the report to negotiate on the price of the property. For example, if a property is found to need £15,000 additional work (that was not flagged before the survey), it might be possible to ask the buyer to knock this off the sale price or get the work done before it’s handed over.

Myth busting: surveys for new build homes

Of course, if you’re buying a new build home, the structural integrity of the building is unlikely to be lacking. Buyers should always check that the property is covered by the NHBC certificate or other guarantees, as this gives a 10-year warranty, just in case.

However, though an ordinary survey might not be necessary, new build buyers would be advised to consider getting a new build ‘snagging’ survey or valuation report, conducted instead.

A snagging survey is a specialist survey for new homes that will pick up mistakes such as plumbing, poorly finished paintwork or faulty electrics. Should any discoveries be made, the independent inspector will also be able to arrange for the developer to sort out any defects found.

The reality is, an investment in property is one of the biggest you’re ever likely to make — and therefore, you should try to eliminate any level of risk, no matter how small. If you opt to have a survey carried out by an independent chartered surveyor, this person is one of the few people involved in the buying process who is totally able to advise you impartially.

About Aldrock

Aldrock is a multi-disciplined practice of chartered building surveyors, architectural designers and energy consultants offering a range of building surveys, design services and statutory energy assessing documents for building owners.

If you need help or advice with buying your home, we can help. For more information about how our expert team can help you to get a professional survey, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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  • 23rd October 2017