A lack of knowledge among buyers about the home purchase process is causing them to accrue unnecessary costs, according to new research from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The study found many are setting themselves up for an average of GBP 5,750 in repair bills on their new home. This is thanks to a raft of hidden problems, such as structural defects, rot and subsidence, often left unacknowledged because a survey has not been conducted.
Peter Bolton King of RICS said: "A general lack of understanding about the home buying process is putting many at increased risk because they are not taking out independent, expert advice. Agents can and should offer advice to buyers, however, only a surveyor is trained to identify issues with a property."
Those inexperienced with the property market are the most at risk of high repair bills, with young and first-time buyers the most likely to neglect a survey. This is often an issue of cost, with many unable to afford the price of a survey. However, RICS stresses that it is always advised to put money aside to cover the cost of this. Failing to do so can lead to greater expenditure further down the line. "Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions most people will ever make and yet many consumers are doing so blind to the facts. Serious faults are difficult to identify and costly to repair," Mr King said.
More than a fifth of home buyers that didn't take out a survey are now left with a property they never would have bought otherwise. While consumers are aware independent advice is needed, nearly a third fail to get it. This means they are lumbered with a property that has repairs they cannot afford but which they cannot sell. According to RICS, a misunderstanding about the role of estate agents is often to blame. Nearly 60 per cent of respondents incorrectly identified an estate agent's primary responsibility as acting equally for the buyer and the seller.
With more and more young and first-time buyers set to enter the market, thanks to new government schemes, it is important to stress to novices the importance of thorough research when buying a property. While in a competitive market you need to act quickly, routine checks should never be sacrificed.
- Tuesday 16 April 2013