Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Good Chance to Clear out the Jargon

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Good Chance to Clear out the Jargon

Article excerpt

Byline: By Peter Fall

A recent You Gov survey found out here in the North-East, only 6% of home buyers bother to have a building survey when buying a new home.

Yet across the rest of the country, the average is almost 20%. Why is it that when we make what is probably the biggest purchase of our lives, we don't go to the trouble of finding out if what you see is what you get?

Could it be that the average survey reports are so full of jargon and caveats that we don't understand them or when we do, the surveyor doesn't reach a conclusion.

A couple of years ago, despite doing building surveys for more than 30 years and the only changes had been the advent of the word processor and digital photographs. On top of that, nobody had asked the customer or their advisors, whether what we professionals were giving them, was what they wanted.

It was a case of "the surveyor knows best and you will get what you are given". May be that's why 94% of buyers don't have a building survey. All of this made me think. So I set about asking customers and their advisors, whether they were getting what they needed to help them buy the house and what we can do to improve it.

The first thing that came out was we don't understand the jargon, we don't like vagueness and we don't want to be told what we can see with our own eyes. Give us more photographs and put them with the text so we can read and see the problem at the same time.

The next was, don't just tell us there is or may be a problem. Tell me how to put it right. Tell me if the problem is one I should worry about or can I ignore it? Also, what might it cost to put it right.

The third area of concern was the time it takes to receive the report after the survey is complete. Some surveyors are quite good with a three-day turnaround, but often the quality of the report reflected this. …

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