A: No it is not too late, but you may antagonise the vendor by arranging what they will see as a second survey. You certainly should get a detailed survey done. A seller is under no obligation to disclose defects in a property. There is little consumer protection in buying a house, and the classic defence of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) rules in the property market.
The timing of the survey is important, and in a private-treaty sale it should be done before you sign the contract for sale. Your solicitor will advise you best on this. If for whatever reason you must sign now and have not had the time to commission a building survey, your solicitor may add in a “subject to survey” clause which provides for a change of mind should the survey report advise pulling out. But the contract for sale binds the parties to the completion of the sale. If you withdraw from the sale after this contract has been signed, you may lose your deposit.
A surveyor will undertake a building survey report prior to signing contracts. This is a detailed inspection of all elements of the dwelling, including roofs, roof voids (attics), walls, ceilings, floors, internal joinery, services, insulation, external grounds, out-houses and boundaries. Other issues that are foremost on the mind of buyers today include pyrite and fire-prevention issues.
Depending on the location of the property it would be worth conducting a planning search, a boundary check and a review of certificates of compliance, which will confirm that any extensions and alterations are built in accordance with the conditions of the planning permission and in compliance with building regulations or building bye-laws.
* Pat McGovern is a Chartered Building Surveyor, scsi.ie
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This column is a readers’ service. Advice given is general and individual advice should always be sought