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Dos and Don'ts for Buying a House

Handy tips for house buyers based on our experience as residential surveyors

Dos and Don’ts for Buying a House




1) Get an RICS Home Survey Report
Of course this was going to be our number one! This will probably be the most money you’ll ever spend so do it with your eyes open and find out as much as you can by getting a proper house survey from an experienced and qualified professional surveyor. For most properties, an RICS Level 2 Home Survey will provide all the information you need.


2) Set a budget
It doesn’t take long for your dream home to turn into your worst nightmare if you can’t afford to fix the issues. Get reputable contractors to provide quotes for the works detailed in your house survey.


3) Be aware of how much work is involved
Having the funds to carry out upgrading works is one thing but do you also have the patience to deal with the disruption? Dust, noise, dirt, and tradespeople who don’t return calls will quickly wear you down. Make sure you are prepared for this.


4) Be realistic
Most houses will need at least some repair and upgrading works so expect this from your house survey. But also be aware of the other options available. Is there something similar for the same price but in better condition, or are you getting a bargain? Is this a one-off house or are there lots more like it which don’t have similar issues?


5) Remember that we don’t expect you to be an expert
That’s what we, as Chartered Surveyors, are here for so call us to chat about your concerns and don’t be afraid to ask us questions about our house surveys.



1) Confuse your mortgage valuation with a house survey
We say it all the time but please remember a mortgage valuation is not a house survey. It only contains information on major defects that affect mortgage lending, any legal issues and the market value of the property. Nothing else.


2) Assume the estate agent has your best interests at heart
The agent is paid by the vendor. We don’t need to say any more.


3) Be distracted by furnishings and decoration
Let’s face it, who doesn’t enjoy the latest Farrow and Ball colours? But if your house survey shows that the roof’s leaking and the windows don’t open, no amount of designer paint is going to save you from ongoing misery.


4) Stretch yourself to your financial limit
Houses need maintenance and no matter which house you buy, you WILL have to spend money on it. So, make sure there’s some cash left over after your mortgage is paid.


5) Skip the house survey to save money
We know buying a property is expensive but skipping the house survey is not the best way to keep costs down. With RICS Level 2 Home Surveys starting from £300+VAT, the savings are not sufficient to justify the additional risk.  View it as an essential cost and factor it into your house-buying budget.



12 July 2023