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5 Buying and Selling Property

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1. Introduction

2. Dealing with estate agents

3. Offers, exchange of contract and completion

4. What the price should include

5. Problems with solicitors and conveyancers

6. Problems with the survey

There are three different types of survey and they will give you different amounts of information and detail.

  • A valuation by a mortgage lender gives the least amount of information. It is only done to see if the price you have offered is close to the property's value, so that the lender can recover the loan if the property has to be sold.
  • A 'house-buyer's report' is more detailed.
  •  A full structural survey or building survey is the most thorough type of survey.

If you are a buyer, you should check carefully what a survey covers and what it doesn't (for example, parts of the property that haven't been checked because the surveyor couldn't get access to them).

All qualified surveyors should be members of a professional association such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (see 'Further help' for details).

If you lose out because of a surveyor's negligence (for example, the house you have bought has problems that the survey should have shown up), RICS has a complaints procedure and arbitration scheme which you can use if the surveyor is an RICS member.

Alternatively, you can sue a surveyor for negligence. However, going to arbitration is cheaper and simpler than going to court. You and the surveyor each prepare a statement, and the property may be re-inspected. The arbitrator's decision is legally binding on both sides. You can claim compensation of up to £50,000 if the defect means the market value of the property is less than you paid.

7. Buying a newly built home

8. Leasehold, freehold and commonhold properties

9. Mortgage and money problems

10. Neighbour disputes and anti-social behaviour

11. Further Help

12. About this leaflet

This leaflet was written by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Shelter.

Leaflet Version: April 2019

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