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Should Conveyancing Solicitors recommend RICS Condition Reports?

How many people make the most expensive purchase in their life without having it properly checked? The fact is that many of us buy a house without asking a surveyor to check the property. Conveyancing Solicitors always advise home-buyers to have a full building survey carried out, but many think they can rely on the mortgage ‘survey’ and are put off by the additional expense of having a further building survey.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has just announced a new scheme which will provide home-buyers with a Condition Report on the property they are buying. This is intended to give buyers of conventional properties and newer homes a clear, concise picture of the state of a property. The report does not provide an additional price valuation, but instead is designed to complement a mortgage valuation.

It can be a false economy to rely on the mortgage survey, as that is only a valuation survey for the benefit of the lender. Although these surveys may pick up obvious defects, their main purpose is to give lenders an accurate valuation on which to base the amount of their loan. Such valuations should not be looked upon as a building survey by buyers.

The RICS Condition Report is principally aimed at buyers who do not want the expense and complication of a full building survey. Sellers might also consider getting such a report to highlight any problems that might potentially affect any sale.

The RICS states that the Condition Report will be backed by the full authority of RICS and written in plain English, using the easy to follow ‘traffic lights’ ratings system. The report also offers details of urgent defects and a section offering advice for legal advisors.

This is clearly a service which should be of great benefit to homebuyers. It can be a nightmare for buyers who only find that their house suffers from structural problems after they have bought it. The general law for house-buyers is ‘buyer beware’ and a seller is not generally under any duty to disclose defects.   In any case the seller may have had no knowledge of any problems, and sold in good faith. Even if there is a potential case against the seller, most people do not want to get involved in law cases.

A Report which gives a house a clean bill of health will provide a great reassurance to buyers. Even if a Condition Report does revealed defects this gives buyers the opportunity to obtain a reduction in the price, especially if they will have to get work carried out. So it is always a good idea for buyers to have some sort of building survey carried out.

Fridaysmove can arrange for a surveyor to carry out a Condition Report on the property you are buying – call our team on 0800 038 6446.

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