Buying a home - structural survey - is it necessary?

RMCF

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,432
Just wondering how many people would actually get one of these done when buying a 2nd hand house?

I am about to sign off on a 10yr old house. It has had the Valuation Report done ok for the bank, but I was wondering if it would be worthwhile for piece of mind to get a separate structural/architects survey done?

I was chatting to an architect and they basically said if its standing 10yrs now, and looks ok with no cracks anywhere in the house or outside (it hasn't any) then it should be grand.

Thoughts?
 

missdaisy

Frequent Poster
Messages
319
I would get a survey done by an engineer. I don't understand when people don't spend circa €350 to get a survey done on a house that is costing hundreds of thousands. I would get it done, granted the house has been standing for ten years but there could be a subsidence issue, there could be woodworm etc. You are making a huge financial commitment buying this house and I would get the report to be sure to be sure!
 

RMCF

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,432
Would an architect be able to do it?

What type of 'engineer' should I search for in the Golden Pages?

I agree with your sentiments re: €350 v €200,000 cost.
 

mf1

Frequent Poster
Messages
4,162
Just wondering how many people would actually get one of these done when buying a 2nd hand house?

I am about to sign off on a 10yr old house. It has had the Valuation Report done ok for the bank, but I was wondering if it would be worthwhile for piece of mind to get a separate structural/architects survey done?

I was chatting to an architect and they basically said if its standing 10yrs now, and looks ok with no cracks anywhere in the house or outside (it hasn't any) then it should be grand.

Thoughts?
Theres your answer. Its your choice whether you do or not. A solicitor will advise you to have one - but you make your own mind up. And if the house is fine, that's grand. And if you have structural issues in the future, which would have been obvious from inspection, you can just take it on the chin and empty out your wallet. Caveat emptor and all that.

mf
 

missdaisy

Frequent Poster
Messages
319
What type of 'engineer' should I search for in the Golden Pages?
Is there anybody you know who has bought a house? It is normally better to act on a recommendation. Alternatively if you used a mortgage broker they could be in a position to recommend an engineer? What part of the country are you based in?
 

RMCF

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,432
Theres your answer. Its your choice whether you do or not. A solicitor will advise you to have one - but you make your own mind up. And if the house is fine, that's grand. And if you have structural issues in the future, which would have been obvious from inspection, you can just take it on the chin and empty out your wallet. Caveat emptor and all that.

mf
Just curious as to how many people who bought 2nd hand houses have paid to have one carried out.

I'm guessing the figure would be quite low.

Would there be any comeback on the architects who completed my Valuation Report for the bank if anything did happen the house? After all, I am sure if they are doing a survey to say this house is sound and worth €xxx so that the bank will loan you the money, then if it develops anything major next year or two they would have to justify not spotting it? No ?
 

missdaisy

Frequent Poster
Messages
319
Sorry can't help you then, I'm based in Cork. You are looking for a Consulting Engineer or Structural Engineer.
 

mf1

Frequent Poster
Messages
4,162
"Would there be any comeback on the architects who completed my Valuation Report for the bank if anything did happen the house? After all, I am sure if they are doing a survey to say this house is sound and worth €xxx so that the bank will loan you the money, then if it develops anything major next year or two they would have to justify not spotting it? No ? "

This is the very essence of the problem. They are carrying out a valuation not a survey.
It is a huge distinction and one of the very basic mistakes purchasers make. They are simply putting a value you on it today - nothing more.

My experience is that all purchasers should have a survey and most purchasers do.

mf
 

missdaisy

Frequent Poster
Messages
319
Personally I don't know any person who has bought a second hand house who hasn't carried out a survey.
 

NorfBank

Frequent Poster
Messages
2,103
Just curious as to how many people who bought 2nd hand houses have paid to have one carried out.

I'm guessing the figure would be quite low.
I would always advise a structural survey and most clients get one done. The proof of how good they are is that a couple of clients have decided not to proceed on the evidence of the survey.

As missdaisy said, if you're paying hundreds of thousands on a house, isn't it worth paying a few hundred for a little extra peace of mind?
 

Betsygirl

Registered User
Messages
24
I bought a 20yr old house last February and we paid €350 to get a survey done. I can honestly say that it was the biggest waste of money ever! Basically, the survey would commit to nothing, they said the walls appear to be solid and have no cracks, but you'd need to get a builder to confirm this, the walls appear to be damp free but you'd need to get another specialist to confirm this and on and on.... I've asked friends who also got surveys carried out and they all said the same thing, it's a complete waste of money.
 

huskerdu

Frequent Poster
Messages
2,129
I have bought 3 second hand houses in my life and had a structural survey done every time. I have walked away from a purchase once on the basis of the survey. ( It had been standing a lot longer than 10 years, but the problems were not visible to the untrained eye).

I don't know how many people get one done, but most people I know who has bought a second hand house has had a survey done, or been advised by friends and solicitors that they should.
 

JMR

Frequent Poster
Messages
297
I have had structural surveys carried out on second hand houses and in 99% of the cases it only provides peace of mind, which for approx €350 is not a bad purchase.

If you do get a survey carried out you will probably feel like you have wasted your money as, if you're anything like me you will expect the 'Engineer' to really get stuck into the build quality of the house and crawl around the attic looking for potential problems.
In my experience a cursory walk around the house followed up with a very generic looking report is what you get for your money.
I would like to think however, that if there were any major structural flaws that they would be picked up so much like the man that goes to the doctor and hands over his €60 I am not going to complain when I'm told "there's nothing wrong with you"

I would always get a survey carried out
 

RMCF

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,432
I have been more or less persuaded now based on most of the comments here.

Can an architect do this structural survey? Or does it have to be a civil engineer?
 

missdaisy

Frequent Poster
Messages
319
An architect won't do this kind of survey for you. As you have an architect you should ask him to put you in the direction of a good engineer who can survey the property for you.
 

RMCF

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,432
What cover have you once you have a structural survey carried out by an engineer?
 

Berni

Frequent Poster
Messages
681
The engineer will have professional indemnity insurance, which you can claim against if he misses a defect that should have been apparent.
 

huskerdu

Frequent Poster
Messages
2,129
The engineer will have professional indemnity insurance, which you can claim against if he misses a defect that should have been apparent.

True, but they are careful to cover themselves. You are correct to use the term "apparent". The wording of the survey will make clear what they didn't do and cant be expected to find.

An example of this is that the last line might say

"Inspection was of a superficial nature, no parts of the structure or woodwork were exposed in any way and therefore it is not possible to state if these are free of defect".

Still think is it 350 quid well spent, once you have get a personal recommendation that the person is good.
 
Top