Doing this one simple thing when buying a house could save you £3,000

In the market for a new house? Make sure you read this before buying...

House buying. An exhilarating experience fraught with potential disappointment, anxiety and upset. Often the thrill of having an offer accepted overrides any rational thinking – a classic heart over head situation. You’ve fallen in love with a characterful cottage, not knowing that the Aga’s bust, or the electrics are ancient and frazzled.

Related: Would you admit to committing this faux pas after moving house?

Houses don’t come cheap, and it’s really worth putting in the time so you know what you’ll be dealing with in your potential new habitat. This is why it really pays to…

Former schoolhouse Oxford

Image credit: Polly Eltes

…get a thorough survey done beforehand!

According to a new study by home interior specialist Hillarys, more than two thirds of Britons don’t know what property surveys are available when buying a house. And it’s leaving us £3,000 out of pocket on repairs. That’s money that could be spent on something infinitely more exciting than new plumbing.

With some 2,056 (over 18) British new home owners quizzed on their experiences of buying properties, a whopping 54 per cent confessed to not understanding what they needed to do to buy a home, prior to doing so. Most notably, 62 per cent of those asked were not aware of what surveys were available to them on buying their homes. 79 per cent thought one survey covered everything – which is not the case.

What is the best survey to have?

Hampshire home

Image credit: Polly Eltes

So what are the most popular surveys, you ask? Well, the study revealed this too. In top place, with 61 per cent, is a ‘Condition Report’. To you and me, that’s a sort of summary of the condition of aspects of the property, with indications of defects likely to require real attention. A ‘Building Survey’ is the second most popular (58 per cent), and this provides an in-depth analysis of a property’s condition – this is a must for large and particularly old properties.

A ‘Homebuyer Report’ meanwhile will investigate any structural issues, damp or possible hidden issues – but only 31 per cent of those poled have purchased these. 25 per cent opted for an Electrical Installation Condition report, and 19 per cent a ‘New-Build Snagging Survey’ – specific, obviously, to new build homes.

Finally, when asked if they thought they had sufficient or correct surveys for their property, 71 per cent said they did not. In case you wondered, 58 per cent discovered that their home needed additional work doing after completing their purchase, with an eye watering overall cost of £2,790.

Where can I get advice about surveys?

Yorkshire cottage house tour

Image credit: Dave Burton

More top tips: The cost of moving house – and how you can make savings

Of the 29 per cent that felt happy they’d had the relevant surveys done, 90 per cent had outside help. But do you happen to know someone who can help you out with your house sale? Possibly not. if you’re unsure, it’s a good idea to speak to your mortgage advisor, who should be able to explain the best option for you.

House buyers might be put off surveys because of the expense, not knowing it could save them some bucks (as well as time) long term. But as you can see, that’s a costly mistake!

All the latest from Ideal Home