Worth having survey done on leasehold flat?

by Readers Question

8:30 AM, 17th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Worth having survey done on leasehold flat?

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Worth having survey done on leasehold flat?

I’m in process of buying a first floor, 2-bed flat in an old building above a bank but am just wondering if it is worth having a proper survey done on the property or not? worth it

It’s going to cost about £500 for the survey, but surely if there is a problem it will be covered by the buildings insurance, which is part of the lease.

Just wondered what people’s thoughts were on this approach.

Many thanks

Brad



Comments

Neil Patterson

8:35 AM, 17th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Brad,

Buildings insurance covers accidental damage not a general lack of repair or maintenance due to age.

If you are using a mortgage you will have a valuation survey done anyway, but if not you should have some knowledge of the state of repair on a major purchase.

There could be a lot of work that needs doing and no sinking fund so you may be asked to stick your hand in your pocket straight away!

Yvette Newbury

9:27 AM, 17th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Find out who the freeholder is and try to speak to them on the phone, see what sort of reaction you get to a simple enquiry. Speak to neighbours if possible to see if they are awaiting works to be done, or have an issue that the freeholder is dealing with or not so that you can gauge how responsive the freeholders are to problem at the building.

What do your service charges cover and how much are they? What is your ground rent, is it escalating? Is there a sinking fund (pot of money for future works)? These are just a few thoughts on what you could do prior to a survey being ordered. As Neil Patterson above says, the buildings insurance will not cover any major works the freeholders has to do (wear and tear) and all leaseholders will have to pay this between them.

Ashley Wong

9:29 AM, 17th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Brad

With the items which the surveyor had identified as requiring works, you can obtain a quote for the remediation work and re-negotiate with the vendor. Also reconsider given the costs and time to perform the remediation work whether the property is still a deal.

Ashley

Steven Burman

10:53 AM, 17th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Brad

It could be the best £500 you will ever spend.

I took a similar risk on a 2 bed leasehold flat (the valuation survey will tell you nothing about the state of repair of the building). It turned into a nightmare - the managing agent was taking money under false pretences, the freehold had carried out major works which were not done properly, the building was structurally flawed, legal action was taken against the freeholder.

I was lucky to escape with a small profit (thanks to a rising market) as I sold to an investor who was willing to take a risk on getting things put right. However, I still sold at £50,000 below market value.

It wasn't worth the stress, sleepless nights etc. and could have been avoided if I had undertaken a structural survey.

It was a hard lesson to learn. I implore you not to learn the hard way like I did?

SB

Alan R

11:45 AM, 17th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Good advice already. Have a real good look around the interior and exterior of the property. Binoculars can be useful outside. Take a knowledgeable someone with you for a second opinion. If you then have any serious/worrying doubts about the property condition, get a proper survey done, or haggle with the vendor for price reduction. Shop around for the best survey price but there is I believe a fixed range for RICS surveyors, so not much room for negotiation.

Bear in mind that these house-buyer type surveys don't have a lot of value (my opinion). For my last purchase, the surveyor turned up in her high heels looking very smart - and in the process informed me that the loft inspection was head and shoulders only. I couldn't complain as it was all within the scope of the survey procedure, but not much use apart from confirming valuation and that it wasn't about to fall down! Full structural is the way - if you can afford it - can be expensive! The usual dilemma - save hundreds on a survey now and risk thousands on repairs later.

Brad Ashton

16:30 PM, 17th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Thanks guys, some very good comments there and much appreciated. Guess I'll be getting the survey done!


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