What kind of survey do you need?
Having a property survey done is one of the most important steps on the journey to homeownership. Your home is probably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so you’ll want to know in advance if there are any underlying issues. After all, you don’t want to risk any nasty surprises after you’ve exchanged contracts.
A survey is a formal inspection of the condition of a property. If any problems are identified as a result of the survey, you may be able to renegotiate your offer, or in extreme cases, you may decide to pull out of the purchase altogether.
Residential property surveys are carried out by Chartered Surveyors and you should always choose one that that is regulated by RICS.
There are two main types of survey available to homebuyers, so what are the key differences and which one do you need? Well, that will depend on a number of different factors, including the type, age and overall condition of the property. If you are unsure which survey to choose, your Chartered Surveyor will be able to advise.
If the property you plan to purchase appears to be in generally good condition, and hasn’t been structurally altered, a HomeBuyers Report is usually recommended. With this option, your surveyor will inspect areas of the property that are visible and accessible. They will then produce a report which details their findings and rates the condition of different aspects of the property, including permanent structures such as a garage. It will highlight any issues they’ve identified, which will help you to decide whether to move forward with the purchase and whether or not the asking price is fair.
• The Homebuyer Report is also often referred to by its previous moniker, the Homebuyer Survey
• It’s most appropriate for modern properties under 40 years old
If you are thinking of purchasing an older property, or one that has undergone extensive structural alterations, you should probably opt for a Building Survey. Also known as a Structural Survey, this is a much more detailed inspection. It covers the inside and outside of the property and includes a visual inspection as well as reporting on elements that cannot be seen.
The surveyor will check for:
• Issues with accessible areas like attic and cellar spaces
• Problems such as damp or dry rot
The surveyor will provide you with a comprehensive report which goes into detail about the state of the property. It will list any problems, including their severity and any remedial action that may be required. You can then use this to make informed decisions and negotiate with the seller on the price and/or responsibility for any required works.
• If the property is new, but has been built using non-traditional materials, you should choose a Building Survey
Whichever option you choose, a good property survey allows you to move forward with the purchase with your eyes fully open and all the facts at your fingertips. It could prevent you from having to carry out expensive property repairs in the future, and could save you money on the purchase price.
To find a local, regulated Chartered Surveyor, visit the RICS website.