Would you turn a blind eye to serious structural issues when buying a home?

A survey of more than 2,000 Brits has revealed that 32% would buy a house or flat knowing that it had a major issue.

The survey by Atom Bank further found that half of people had not investigated common issues such as damp (54%), central heating (54%), electrical (58%) and roof (59%) problems when buying a home. Asbestos and structural concerns were overlooked by around two thirds of potential buyers.

Whilst many people may be eager to get on the property ladder, or secure their move up the ladder to their dream home, there is clearly a significant risk in ignoring potentially serious issues at the home you are looking to buy. Whether due to the lack of knowledge of the price of property repairs, or simply being so keen to progress that they’re willing to bury their heads in the sand, the financial consequences of buying a house with serious issues can quickly mount into the thousands of pounds.

In fact, according to figures from the RICS, the average buyer spends £5750 on repairs once they move into their new home.

Taking the simple and recommended step of having a survey undertaken on the property you are hoping to buy can identify the main issues present in a property. Whilst buyers may still wish to proceed regardless, by having the knowledge imparted by having a survey, they are at least in an informed position – particularly in terms of the price of rectifying the defects.

It is worth noting that even if a buyer is willing to overlook potentially serious faults, a mortgage company may not be as easy going. If a serious issue is identified by the mortgage valuer when they visit the property to inspect it, the mortgage lender may insist on applying a ‘retention’ to the mortgage. This would involve them holding back a proportion of the loan amount until the issues at the property have been rectified. Effectively, this would mean that the buyer would have to find the money to complete the works themselves.

With many homebuyers appearing to underestimate the potential cost – not to mention upheaval – of having building works undertaken to rectify issues on a property they are buying, it is clear that a greater level of education is needed. We have a number of blogs available for potential buyers to read that help to highlight the items they should be looking for when viewing a house.

For more information on our residential property surveys, including our RICS Homebuyer Reports and Building Survey Reports, both of which can help to flag potential issues to buyers at an early stage in the purchase process, please get in touch.