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What Happens After a Survey on a House?

Updated: Jun 18

A property survey isn't just about finding problems; it's about giving you the knowledge to make informed decisions. Understanding what happens after the survey, and the survey options available, will help you navigate the buying process with confidence.  This guide provides the information you need to proceed with your home purchase.


What Happens on the Day of the Survey?


On the day of your scheduled house survey, your surveyor will typically contact the estate agent or the seller directly to collect the keys and gain access. It's your responsibility as the buyer to make sure all areas of the property, including the attic/loft spaces if applicable, are easily accessible for inspection.


The surveyor will then conduct a thorough visual examination of the property's interior and exterior. They'll look for any visible issues, noting:

  • Structural condition: Examining walls, floors, roofs, foundations.

  • Damp or moisture problems: Checking for visible signs of damp.

  • Condition of fixtures and fittings: Inspecting things like windows, doors, plumbing, and wiring.

  • External elements: Looking at the condition of the roof, gutters, etc.

Important Note: The time spent on the survey will depend on the size of the property and the level of survey you've chosen (a more in-depth survey takes longer).





Understanding Common Issues Found in Surveys


Surveys often reveal issues that are relatively common, especially in older properties. Knowing what to look for helps you understand survey results and plan accordingly. 


Here's a table outlining some of the most frequent issues and a brief explanation:

Issue

Description

Damp

Moisture problems that can lead to mould, wood rot, and structural damage if left untreated.

Subsidence

When the ground beneath a property shifts, causing instability and potential damage to foundations and walls.

Ceiling Cracks

While often just cosmetic, they could indicate more serious structural movement.

Roof Issues

This can range from missing/broken tiles to more substantial structural problems.

Japanese Knotweed

An invasive plant that can cause damage to structures and significantly devalue the property.


Next Steps After a Good Survey


If your property survey comes back with a good report and no significant issues, you can continue the home-buying process with confidence.  Here's what typically happens next:

  • Conveyancing Continues: Your solicitor (or conveyancer) will already be working on the legal aspects of the purchase. This includes conducting searches on the property, such as local authority or environmental searches.

  • Mortgage Checks: If you're using a mortgage, your solicitor will review the agreement in detail and finalise the arrangements with your lender. This is also a good time to discuss when you'll need to exchange contracts.

  • Deposit and Insurance:  You'll prepare your deposit for transfer to your solicitor.  Typically, you'll also need to have buildings insurance in place by the time you exchange contracts.

  • Exchange of Contracts: This is a major milestone! Your solicitor will exchange contracts with the seller's solicitor, making the sale legally binding for both parties.

  • Completion: After the exchange, completion usually happens within 7-28 days. However, this timeframe can vary depending on individual circumstances and any complexities within the completion process.




Dealing with Less Than Ideal Survey Results


It's normal for surveys to flag some issues, even in properties that seem to be in good condition. The key is to understand the findings and their implications.

  • Don't Panic: Remember, options are available. Get in touch with your surveyor for clarification and prioritise any concerns they've highlighted.

  • Gather Information:  If there are significant concerns, consider these steps:

  • Specialised Surveys: The surveyor might recommend additional surveys for specific issues (e.g., damp survey, structural survey).

  • Quotes for Repairs: Get quotations from qualified tradespeople for any recommended remedial work. This shows the potential cost impact.

  • Open Communication:  Discuss the survey results with the seller through the estate agent. This starts the negotiation or problem-solving process.

  • Prioritise:  Focus on the most significant issues that could impact your ability to live in the property or those with immediate high cost repairs.


What Happens if the Seller Won't Fix Issues?


  • Renegotiate: This is your primary option. Use the survey report and estimated repair costs to justify a reduction in your original offer.

  • Walk Away: While it might feel disappointing, walking away could be the best choice if the issues are too extensive or the seller is unwilling to compromise. Remember, you may have already incurred costs at this stage.


It's important to weigh your options carefully and realistically assess the additional expenses involved if you proceed after a less-than-ideal survey.


How Long Does It Take to Get Survey Results?


Typically, you can expect to receive your survey report within 3-7 working days after your survey was completed.  However, a few factors can influence this timeframe:

  • Survey Level: More in-depth surveys, like a Level 3 Building Survey, might take longer to complete and generate the report.

  • Additional Surveys:  If your surveyor recommends further specialised surveys (such as a damp survey),  the waiting time will increase while you arrange and obtain those results.

  • Surveyor's Workload: Like any profession, surveyors can have busy periods which might slightly impact turnaround time.


Tip: Be proactive and ask your surveyor for an estimated time frame when you book the survey.


How Long is Completion After Survey


The completion date, when you officially become the property's owner, typically happens around 6 weeks after your property survey.  However, this timeframe can vary significantly depending on several factors. Here's a simplified breakdown of what influences the timeline after your survey:


  1. Survey Results:

  • Good Report: If no major issues are found, the conveyancing process can progress smoothly.

  • Issues Identified: Negotiations with the seller or additional surveys might be required, extending the timeframe.

  1. Conveyancing Searches:  Your solicitor conducts various searches on the property, which can take time to complete. If any delays occur or further investigations are required, the completion might be pushed back.

  2. Mortgage Arrangements: Finalising your mortgage details can impact the timeline, especially if there are complexities in your application.

  3. Chain Length: If you're part of a property chain (selling your existing home and buying simultaneously), delays with other buyers/sellers in the chain can affect your completion date.


Can I Reduce My Offer After the Survey?


Yes, you can attempt to renegotiate your original offer if the survey reveals significant issues. However, it's important to understand that the seller is not obligated to accept a lower price.

Here's how to strengthen your position when renegotiating:


  • Evidence is Key: Provide a copy of the survey report, highlighting the issues that justify a reduction.

  • Obtain Quotes: Get detailed quotes from reputable contractors or specialists for any necessary repairs. This demonstrates the potential financial impact of the issues.

  • Be Realistic: Consider the severity of the problems and the current property market conditions when deciding how much to reduce your offer by.

  • Open Communication: Negotiate through the estate agent, presenting your arguments clearly and professionally.


Remember: The seller might agree to a reduced price, cover the repair costs themselves, or refuse to negotiate altogether. Be prepared for different outcomes.


How to Find a Surveyor


Finding a qualified and reputable surveyor is essential for a thorough and reliable property inspection. Here are the best ways to find one:

  • Search Engines: A quick Google search or using a comparison website allows you to easily compare local surveyors, get quotes, and read reviews.

  • Recommendations: Ask friends, family, or your estate agent for recommendations. They might have had positive experiences with surveyors they can suggest.

  • RICS Accreditation:  Always insist on using a surveyor regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). You can search their directory to find qualified professionals in your area: https://www.ricsfirms.com/.



Your Survey: The Next Stage in Your Homeownership Journey


A property survey is more than just identifying problems; it's a valuable tool throughout your home buying process.  Whether the results are reassuring or highlight areas for negotiation, a survey gives you the knowledge to make informed decisions. Remember, view any issues uncovered not just as obstacles, but as opportunities to ensure your dream home truly meets your needs and expectations.


Ready to Make Your Move?


When the time comes to pack those boxes and start your next chapter, let Denix Moving handle the stress of your London relocation. We offer award-winning service at competitive prices for smooth, worry-free removals in and out of the city. Get in touch for a personalised quote or book online quickly and easily to experience the Denix difference!




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