Buying a home: What survey do I need?

09 Jun Buying a home: What survey do I need?

 You’ve spent weeks tramping the streets and finally,you’ve found your dream home and had your offer accepted! While it’s tempting to crack open the Champagne, there are a few more hurdles ahead before you get the keys in your hands.

One of these is hugely important – the survey. Whilst agents can give you expert advice you on the location of the property, its surroundings and amenities, there’s really only one person who is trained to inspect your home properly. A surveyor.

According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), a quarter of those that don’t purchase a survey are in a “home-buying time bomb” and can expect a bill for repairs to reach up to £6,000.

 So if you’re buying a home, what survey do you need?

The most important thing is not to rely solely on the mortgage company’s “home valuation” survey. This is simply a cursory look at the property so that the bank knows that it’s worth the price you are paying. It isn’t a detailed inspection of the property.

There are three types of survey provided by RICS.

1. Condition Report

This is a basic report, which describes the construction and condition of the property on the date of the inspection. It costs between £100 and £300 and highlights any areas of major concern, such as damp or possible problems with the wiring. If you’re buying new property, or a property in good condition where no real alterations have taken place, this may be the one for you.

2. Next up, and by far the most popular, is the HomeBuyer report. More expensive at around £3-400, it includes all the features of the standard inspection plus a more extensive roof space and underground drainage inspection. It’s particularly useful because it will help decide whether you need extra advice before committing to purchase, such as asking a specialist to look for woodworm or rot. It will include a list of problems that the surveyor considers may affect the value of the property, as well as advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance.

3. Buying a wreck to do up? Then the Buildings Report (which used to be called the structural survey) is a must. It’s the most expensive (up to around £1,000) but it gives detailed information about the structure and fabric of the property. It will aim to establish how the property is built, what materials were used and how these will perform in the future. In other words, whether your property is on the brink of falling down.

Whilst all of these represent a substantial investment at an already financially-stretched time, it’s money well spent.

And don’t forget, the survey is also a bargaining tool. If there are significant issues, your agent will be well-versed in negotiating a revised price for the home, taking likely future works into account.

Want to discuss what survey you need? Contact us for expert advice on how to find surveyor, or if you’re thinking of selling your home or planning a move in Chalfont St Peter, Chalfont St Giles, Gerrards Cross, Rickmansworth and Beaconsfield. Call us on 01494 873663.

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