If you’re in the process of buying a house, you’ll be only too aware of how fees seem to come at you from all areas. There’s the estate agent fees, the solicitor’s fees, the mortgage company fees and a whole load of other fees to take into consideration.

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So it’s no surprise that buyers look to save some money where they can when buying a property. One place where savings can be made is the survey. There’s no legal requirement to have a survey done when buying a property and therefore not having one can save you hundreds of pounds in the short term.

But is it a good idea not to have a survey?

Let’s have a look at what a survey is and whether or not you even need a survey when buying a house.

What is a survey?

There are different types of property surveys ranging in detail and cost. In essence though, a survey on a property is an inspection by a surveyor into the condition of the property and will outline any repairs or defects it has. How much detail the survey goes into depends on the type of survey you decide you need, want or can afford.

Just to be clear though – a mortgage valuation shouldn’t be confused with a survey. If you’re getting a mortgage on the property you want to buy, your lender will have their own survey done but this is only to make sure the property is worth what the lender will lend you. Just because the mortgage lender said the survey came back okay, this shouldn’t be taken as meaning there’s nothing wrong with the property.

Do I need a survey when buying a house?

As we said at the beginning of this post, it’s not a legal requirement when buying a house to have a survey done. So, in answer to the question, ‘Do I need a survey when buying a house?’ the answer is ‘no’. But should you get a survey? That’s up to you.

Some people like to know exactly what it is they’re buying. If it’s an old property, for example, you might want to get a full structural survey to see how structurally sound the building is after all these years.

Getting a survey done that shows any major repairs that need to be made can help you negotiate a reduction in the price or get the sellers to promise to have the work done before exchange of contracts.

If you’re buying a new build though, you might prefer to have a professional snagging survey done, which will make sure everything is as it should be before you move in.

Shared ownership, help to buy and rent to buy properties will all come with their own considerations too.

How to find a surveyor

There’s a good chance you’ll be recommended a surveyor by your mortgage lender, solicitor or estate agent. While this would be a convenient way to get one, they won’t necessarily be the best and they definitely won’t be the cheapest as, whoever recommended them to you will probably be on commission or have some other professional connection to them.

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While price is always a factor, don’t just go for the cheapest surveyor you can find. If you don’t have friends or family who can recommend one to you, get a few quotes from local firms but make sure they’re a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

As we said in the beginning, you don’t need to have a survey when buying a house but it can give you peace of mind and let you know exactly what it is you’re buying.