Buying a Residential Property – Here’s Why You Need a Structural Engineer?

Buying a Residential Property – Here’s Why You Need a Structural Engineer?

With all the standard costs associated with buying a property, buyers are often keen to avoid anything that could increase their outlay. However, some of these costs are for important things, things which often get labelled as optional. Structural surveys are a vital part of the house buying process that are often overlooked. People see the initial cost of getting a survey undertaken and, without thinking about the benefits, decide not to have a survey carried out.

We take a look at just why a structural survey is a vital part of the process, and what the costs of not having one could be.




Buying a house is a permanent, long term commitment. It is one that requires a lot of thought and consideration, and getting it wrong can cause problems in the foreseeable future. According to consumer group Which? almost 20 per cent of home owners believes that they have made a mistake purchasing their current property, and had regrets about it. (incidentally, it can apparently age you by up to two years). After asking more than 1,000 of their members about their property woes, not conducting a structural survey before buying was one of the most common regrets (source: The Telegraph). After all the stress and hassle of buying a home, you deserve to relax and enjoy it, not look back on it as a mistake.


The true cost of skipping a structural survey


A recent study by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has shown that many homeowners have unwittingly put themselves in for thousands of pounds worth of repairs. According their research, the average repair bills on a new home come in at £5,750. This covers a range of problems that could be hidden to everything but a detailed inspection, including subsidence and structural defects.

First time and young buyers are particularly at risk, due to their inexperience of home buying, and sometimes their eagerness to complete a sale. Their finances are often stretched to the limit in order to be able to afford their mortgage, making it even more important that the sale goes smoothly and no hidden costs arise in the months following the sale (source: This Is Money). A structural survey, while seemingly an expensive extra, is actually the only thing that will inform you of the fact that you are about to buy a property with serious, and expensive, problems.

Structural surveys can not only save you money in the long term, they can also help put you in a stronger position as a buyer. If a home is found to have defects, you can ask for a reduction in price to compensate for the cost of having the issues fixed once you move in. Certain problems, even if easy to fix, can knock a huge amount off the value of a home. Finding rats or mice in a house, which can actually cause structural damage if left alone long enough, can knock 9% – over £20,000 – off the valuation of a property (source: The Guardian).

It doesn’t take a professional to see that a structural survey is worth doing.