Around the block: Poll finds 60% buy a house without a survey

Pat McGovern and Kevin Hollingsworth of the SCSI

Pat McGovern and Kevin Hollingsworth of the SCSI


With so much energy and expense invested in buying a house, it’s interesting that a new study has found that buyers here constantly fall short when it comes to getting the property checked out by a professional prior to purchase. As a result, one in five of them ends up incurring additional costs of an average of €16,000 to fix defects they were unaware of when buying the property.

The Red C poll, carried out on behalf of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI), is particularly timely in the current market where there are very few new homes, and as a result much of the market is for second-hand homes. These are often the types of property where unforeseen problems arise after the buyer has moved in, and it is too late for recourse.

There’s also an apparent gap between aspiration and reality, with no less than 96 per cent of respondents saying they would be sure to get a house survey or inspection carried out if buying a house but 60 per cent of respondents admitting to not having conducted a professional survey before they had bought previously.

Given that the poll was commissioned by the representative body for construction professionals and estate agents, there is an element of “they would say that wouldn’t they”, but it does seem a little reckless not to do a belt-and-braces check before such a critical transaction . Or as Kevin Hollingsworth, chair of the building surveying professional group of the SCSI, says: “People wouldn’t buy a second-hand car without getting it checked by a qualified mechanic first and yet six out of 10 bought a home without getting it inspected by a professional.” The findings were published at the launch of the SCSI’s ‘Consumer Guide to Residential Building Surveys’.