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Seven million homeowners forgo property survey

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More than seven million UK homeowners did not have a survey completed on their current property, putting them at “serious financial risk”, according to Churchill Home Insurance.

This includes 3.5 million people who did not have any type of independent checks completed and 3.6 million who assumed a mortgage valuation was sufficient.

With property prices stretching many home owners’ budgets, it appears people are scaling back on the level of surveys on their property pre-purchase and choosing to go down the cheapest route, the research found.

While the number of people having at least a base level survey has increased over time, from 63% 20 years ago to 91% in the last 12 months, the number opting for a comprehensive building survey has reduced significantly, from 28% 20 years ago to just six per cent in the last 12 months.

In a poll of 100 surveyors, 23% said they have had clients who needed expensive building works done to their property soon after moving in, which would have come up in a more comprehensive survey.

One homeowner had a HomeBuyers report that missed the full extent of subsidence affecting the property while others needed roof repairs, had problems with dry rot, damp or heating issues, all of which would have come up in a full building survey.

Martin Scott, head of Churchill Home Insurance, said: “Only by having a qualified surveyor assess a property are prospective buyers fully informed of the true state of that property, so it is an essential part of the buying process. Those relying on a mortgage valuation alone should be wary as this is just a cursory look at a property from a mortgage lender to assess how much it is worth, not a survey looking at the state of the property.”

Nearly two fifths of surveyors said there was a correlation between the type of survey people asked for and the type of home they were buying. The majority of surveyors (91%) said those buying an older property were most likely to have a building survey done, whereas those buying a new build were most likely to have a HomeBuyers report (51%).

Guide to valuations and surveys

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