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                                                                                                                                                                  Last updated 30th December 2013 > site map > drain camera surveys > home buyers drain surveys > debate

Should We Change The Way We Buy and Sell Houses ?

After several years of market stagnation the experts are telling us houses are selling again and mortgage approvals are on a five year high so is it not time that we changed the way we buy and sell properties while we have the chance ?.

For the vast majority of us buying a house is the biggest financial commitment we will ever make yet even in this age of technological advancement, when it has never been easier to obtain and share information there is still an element of buyer beware involved in a house purchase.

As it stands at the moment you employ a surveyor who looks at the property you are considering buying and then he or she will submit a report, if the surveyor has concerns about the roof, electrics, possible subsidence or the drainage system they then advise that you employ a roofer, electrician, structural engineer or drainage contractor to undertake further surveys.

You are now hundreds if not thousands of pounds into investigating a property that you are only considering buying, if the survey(s) findings are not good you count your losses and move onto the next property on your list and the expensive process starts again, meanwhile the seller hopes that the next viewer is not so `buyer beware` or that their surveyor is not as vigilant.

As a drainage contractor we are often asked to undertake a drain camera inspection on a property for a potential buyer, this can be due to a recommendation from a surveyor or it can be the policy of a particular mortgage lender to have a thorough investigation.

It is not however a standard requirement across the UK and we come across customers every day of the week who have drainage or subsidence issues that they have inherited from the properties previous owners.

The Simple Answer

Surely it would be simpler if the property owner, under the stewardship of a surveyor obtained all the relevant surveys and reports before the house was put on the market, as a buyer you would then be presented with a file telling you the condition of the property structure, roof, electrics, heating, plumbing, drains etc from which you can make an informed decision on whether to buy or not.

The cost of the surveys would then be added to the asking price and I suspect that the majority of any remedial works required would be undertaken by the owner pre-sale in order to realise the maximum asking price, if not the asking price would reflect the repair and maintenance works that the prospective purchaser is inheriting.

This would mean that if all surveys are undertaken by registered and approved contractors in their own profession and all surveys are viewed and signed off by an approved surveyor a property would only be surveyed once.

Who Benefits ?

Clearly the `buyer` would benefit as they would be buying a property with an `MOT ` explaining its condition at the time of the purchase and detailing any likely issues that could arise in the next few years.

The seller would not be out of pocket as all survey costs can be added to the sale price as could the costs of any repair works undertaken in order to realise the best market price, if they decide not to undertake any recommended repairs they will still be asking the going market price based on the overall condition of the property at that time

Insurance companies would clearly have less risk if the property has been thoroughly investigated and could adapt their policies accordingly and the works generated for all trades would greatly benefit the economy in general

This is not a new idea by any means and in Scotland they have a Home Report System that covers a few of these areas including energy efficiency, but as someone involved in the flawed home buying process I can not see a down side to putting the onus on the person selling a property to literally getting their house in order before it goes on the market.

change the house buying process

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