My First Property

Getting A Survey On An Auction Property

If you are thinking about buying at auction, one question you might have is whether to get a survey done on a property you are thinking of bidding on or not.

Anecdotal evidence - such as watching property auction programmes on TV - suggests many people risk not getting the survey done, whilst the advice of professionals is that you should get a survey done to mitigate nasty surprises that can be very costly down the line. The reason people risk it is they hate the idea of spending money that is 'wasted' if they don't end up getting the property. However, this is probably the wrong way to look at it - it is still valuable money spent for several reasons:

Firstly, it could bring to light information that stops you bidding on a property, for instance if there are signs of subsidence or other issues that would be very costly to fix. Here the survey saves you from a potential huge loss, so is very worthwhile.

Secondly, it gives you essential information to help you work out a realistic value of the property. If you go into the bidding process with more information than others bidding on a property, this puts you in a better position to assess value accurately, and therefore again can stop you over-bidding. It is always better to be in a position of more knowledge than less knowledge, particularly when it comes to buying property.

Thirdly, when buying at auction, it is not like you are buying a brand new property where the survey may not be necessary: and properties at auction are often known to require lots of work done to them, so you will need peace of mind about the state of the actual physical bricks and mortars if you don't want to take a massive risk as to what will confront you when you open the front door!

Therefore it would be a mistake to view getting a survey done as a waste of money - see it as a necessary part of the process if you are serious about buying at auction, even if you ultimately get a survey done on several properties over several auctions and purchase just one property, the fee of several surveys will still add up to less than the potential hit you could take if you buy a property without a survey and then are stung with several nasty surprises further down the line.

Of course, there are various different types of survey available: these start with the most basic option, the condition report, then the homebuyer's report - probably the most common option - and the most detailed one of all is something called a buildings survey. Typically when people talk about getting a survey done on a property, they are talking about getting a homebuyer's report.

The price of each type of survey also varies, but as a guideline the condition report is cheaper than the homebuyer's report, which in turn is cheaper than the buildings survey. Figures for each can vary considerably, so you should do some research before choosing who to go with when you decide to get a survey done.

Last update: 01 May 2015

More first-time house buying articles:

  1. Home improvements that will add value to your property
  2. Pros and Cons of Living in a Flat
  3. Can I Take Photos When Viewing Property?
  4. Why People Sell Property via Auctions
  5. First Time Buyers Guide


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