A survey is not a legal requirement in Ireland when buying a survey. In fact, the only time you would be required to get a survey is if your mortgage lender requests one. This only happens in about 20% of cases and is usually due to the age or condition of a property.
However, if you choose to buy without hiring a surveyor, you are increasing the risk that you unknowingly buy a property with serious conditional, structural, or legal issues.
General Conditional Issues
The majority of issues identified in the survey are simply due to poor maintenance or general wear and tear. Almost every secondhand property will a dozen or more of these. However, in a significant number of surveys, there are more serious issues identified due to poor maintenance, which would result in costly repairs.
A surveyor will decrease your chances of catching these issues so you don't get any surprises after buying!
In <10% of properties, we'll find some serious structural issues. These could be related to faulty foundations or subsidence which causes cracking, faulty bricks which cause walls to crumble or crack or issues with roofs which present a risk to the property.
Many of these issues can go unnoticed to an untrained eye, but a surveyor is on the lookout for them as soon as they step out of the car.
If they are present, they can cost anywhere from a few thousands to 10s of thousands of euro to repair.
If there have been any alterations to the property like conversions, extensions, porches etc. they will likely planning permission, certificates of compliance or certificates of exemption.
It is not always obvious based on the images of the property for you or your solicitor to identify these, but your surveyor will note any alterations and give their opinion on whether or not they need planning or are exempt.
Your surveyor will also note the location of services like septic tanks, wells, meters etc. If any of these are not located within the boundaries, your solicitor will need to reach out to the vendor's solicitors to ensure there are legal protections in place.
If you choose to purchase without a survey, you are taking on a large financial and legal risk that may not become apparent until several years down the line. As a buyer of a second-hand property has no legal recourse in the case of any issues, it is vital you take every step to do your due diligence so you can buy with confidence.