RICS urges homebuyers to consider a survey.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 1, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Over a fifth of home buyers who did not take out a home survey are saddled with a property they would never have bought had they been aware of its true condition before purchase, according to new research by RICS.

Results from RICS’ survey of home buying consumers, released today, show that many homeowners who did not take out a home survey are left with a property they regret buying and an average of £5,750 in repair bills.

The survey of 1,017 buyers across the UK found that consumers are clearly aware of the need for independent advice, with 94% of respondents agreeing it is important to commission a survey. However, nearly a third failed to do so. This means buyers are left ignorant of issues with the property, such as structural defects, dry and wet rot, subsidence and many other faults, only for these to become serious matters at a later date. The new homeowner may then be unable to afford, or may lose the desire, to fix the faults and may be left with a property they may no longer want to live in but are unable to sell to recoup their losses.

89% of respondents who did not commission a survey now think it is important to take out independent advice.
73% of people who did commission a survey said it provided them with peace of mind and over 50% felt it was value for money.

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions most people will ever make and yet many consumers are doing so blind to the facts. Serious faults are difficult to identify and costly to repair. By not being aware of them consumers are risking a potential home buying time bomb. This can cause extreme stress and financial strain on homeowners who are often stuck with a property they no longer want but cannot sell.

Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director

Results from the survey of home buying consumers also showed common misconceptions and lack of understanding amongst consumers. Nearly 60% of respondents incorrectly identified an estate agent’s primary responsibility with 1 in 10 mistakenly believing agent’s act for the buyer, whilst nearly 1 in 5 thinking they act equally for the buyer and seller.

The lack of understanding about the home buying process is putting consumers at increased risk as many fail to take out further independent, expert advice. Agents can and should offer advice to buyers, however, only a surveyor is trained to identify issues with a property. The cost of a survey is a small price to pay for this knowledge and peace of mind.

Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director
RICS Home Surveys

There is now a choice of three levels of RICS surveys available to suit the particular circumstances of the client and the property:
Level 1 – Condition Report

Provides an objective overview of the condition of the property, highlighting areas of major concern without extensive detail. This option is ideal for buyers purchasing a modern house in good condition and for sellers and owners.
Level 2 – HomeBuyer Report

Is most suitable for standard older and modern properties that are in an apparent reasonable condition. It provides a concise report with advice detailing any significant problems that could make a difference to the value of a property.
Level 3 – Building Survey

The ‘flagship’ service providing a detailed report on a property. It is particularly useful for older, larger or non-traditional properties, or one which is dilapidated and has been extensively altered or if the buyer is planning a major conversion or renovation.

RICS surveyors are closely regulated and are required to have professional indemnity insurance, which helps to protect buyers if the surveyor fails to detect a fault that later becomes apparent. Buyers can search for a residential surveyor on the RICS website at: www.rics.org/findasurveyor/.
About the consumer survey

The market research was conducted by ComRes, which interviewed online 1,017 people who had bought a property or gone through the process of obtaining a property valuation on a property they were looking to buy in the last five years. Field word was conducted between 9 and 15 August 2012. Respondents are broadly representative by region.

Media enquiries

Nathanael Moyers
RICS Senior Press Officer
t 0207 695 1634
m 0785 477 6554

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