Why you should ALWAYS get a survey on your new home
Statistics show that only 20% of home buyers in the UK undertake an Independent Survey prior to buying a new home.
One of the most common reasons for this is that buyers often mistakenly believe that the "Mortgage Valuation" is sufficient and will flag up any defects. WRONG! - the Mortgage Valuation is simply for the bank or building society to check that if you default on repaying the loan there will be enough value in the house for them to sell it and recover the outstanding amount of the loan.
It's very important to remember that the mortgage valuer appointed by your lender is not working for you, they are working for the lender, and the lender is not bothered if the roof leaks, or if it has structural cracking that will cost you, the new owner, money, as long as they can sell it for more than the amount of the loan if you default. The question posed to the mortgage valuer is: "is there adequate security for the loan?" not "is this house actually worth the asking price?" or "will this house require a myriad of repairs costing you thousands over the next few years"?
This is why you should ALWAYS have an independent survey done on your new home. The principle of caveat emptor, "let the buyer beware" particularly applies to a property, as most consumer protection laws do not apply to property sales. A health check on your new home will flag up any major issues and enable you to make an informed decision about whether to proceed, and at what price. The survey will also give you peace of mind and enable you to budget for the future costs of ownership.
A survey can be equally important even if it's a new build house which might have a rash of minor (and sometimes even major) defects that need to be flagged up for the builder to fix under warranty.
Surveys for a typical house cost only £300 - £800 (+ VAT) and it is likely that the surveyor will save you his fee several times over by flagging up issues before you sign on the dotted line. This will enable you to budget for any repairs, or to revisit the agreed priced if this is felt to be the most appropriate course of action.
Buying your home is probably the most expensive purchase you will ever make: you wouldn’t buy a car without an MOT, so why would you invest your life savings and tie yourself to a 25 year loan on a home without a survey from a RICS Qualified, Independent Professional.