It will likely continue to be a topic of debate for a long time to come….should I have a survey on a new build property before commitment to purchase? and you are likely to be receive different opinions and answers to this question for many reasons.
Regardless of the age of a property and its condition, a pre-purchase survey and the subsequent report can be invaluable for many reasons:
- It may provide a purchaser with information relating to the construction that may help them in understanding the property, its materials and also help them ascertain and understand what maintenance may be required.
- Although surveyors never want to find defects, surveys and reports can highlight significant and (also more minor) matters that many purchasers may not be aware of. Defects may require costly repairs, maintenance, or further investigation/action and without the benefit of a survey and report identifying such, you may commit to purchase a property that could require expensive repairs or work. Having these issues highlighted in a report can also assist purchasers in renegotiating the purchase price for a property to assist in contributing towards or covering the costs of significant works (although it should be noted that not all vendors and sellers will be open to renegotiation).
- A survey/report may identify health and safety issues or risks that purchasers should be aware of and remedy to ensure that they have a safe home.
- A report can provide the purchaser with information relating to geographical issues within the area based on their knowledge and information available.
- A report may include prompts for matters for your legal advisers to investigate on your behalf – this could be legal matters for example, making sure the property has the necessary rights/permissions for vehicular access if there are any shared vehicular roads/drives etc. but can also include things like prompting your legal adviser to investigate that important and necessary permissions for works to the property such as extensions have been obtained.
There are various other benefits to commissioning a pre-purchase survey and report but in short, a pre-purchase survey and report can provide a purchaser with information relating to the property to allow them to have a greater understanding of the property they are buying, to investigate necessary matters/issues and obtain costings for works required and importantly, to assist them in making a more informed decision as to whether the property is right for them.
In terms of new build and modern properties, there is a common misconception that new build properties (properties that have recently or newly been constructed awaiting their first occupation) and also modern properties are defect-free. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and whilst there are many good quality and well-constructed new build properties available, new build does not mean defect free. It is becoming more and more common to find defects (including significant defects) with new build properties and whilst most new build properties will have the benefit of a 10-year warranty, this will not cover all manner of defects and it is often difficult to get insurers to cover or pay out to remedy defects. Defects can vary from fairly minor in nature to the more significant and therefore costly!
Just take a look at the photo of the cracks to the stonework in this property which is only a few years old. This defect is likely to be a quality issue with the stonework used and may require reconstruction of all stonework areas to the outside of the property, something a purchaser may not pick up (or have budgeted to carry out) without a survey and/or snagging list.