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Is a Building Survey Essential for a Property Purchase?

You have found your dream property and the seller has accepted your offer, and you’re keen to get started on making the purchase and transferring the property to your ownership. However, before you do this, it’s important that you have a survey conducted on the property to identify any potential issues or damage that you may not have picked up on during the visit.

The truth is that structural issues and other problems with properties can often be invisible to the naked eye and failing to have a survey conducted on your potential new property could leave you dealing with issues that you did not realise were there. While it’s not a legal requirement for you to have a survey carried out on a property before making the purchase, it is highly recommended to invest in one and may affect your ability to get the mortgage rates or the home insurance policy that you want.

What Types of Building Survey Report Options are Available?

Most surveyors will provide three different types of survey for properties. These are:

RICS Condition Report:

The RICS Condition Report is the most basic type of survey available. It provides potential buyers with an overview of the condition of the property and highlights any significant issues that will need to be addressed, but does not go into detail. You will be provided with a report that uses a traffic light rating for the condition of the different parts of the property and is an ideal choice for those who are planning to purchase a relatively modern property and would like some reassurance.

RICS Homebuyers Report:

The RICS Homebuyers Report is a more detailed survey compared to a condition report. It will highlight a range of specific problems such as subsidence or damp. The surveyor will also provide you with advice on any necessary repairs and ongoing property maintenance, along with information on any parts of the property that are not in adherence to current building regulations. It is a non-intrusive inspection, meaning that since the surveyor does not look under the floorboards or behind any furniture, they will only be able to identify problems at the surface level. Generally, this survey will take between two and four hours to complete and you will be provided with a market valuation and average rebuild cost. This is the most common survey type and typically the standard choice for properties that are in a reasonable condition.

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RICS Building Survey:

The RICS Building Survey is the most detailed and thorough survey option and is ideal for anybody who is planning to purchase a property that is unusual, in poor condition, or over fifty years old. It is also recommended for potential homebuyers who are planning to undertake significant renovation work, or if you have any major concerns about the property. It is typically carried out on houses rather than flats and is a ‘hands-on’ survey where the surveyor will look under the floorboards and in the attic. The report may also include the projected costs and timing for any recommended repair work.

Which Survey Should You Ask a Chartered Surveyor For?

Although the Homebuyer’s Report survey tends to be the most popular option, there are no rules regarding the type of survey that you should get. Surveyors are provided with a basic template for each survey by The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and most will adopt the templates for their working style.

How Much Does a Home Survey by a Building Surveyor Cost?

The cost of your survey will vary depending on a range of factors including the size, type, and location of the property that you are planning to buy. It’s a wise idea to get a few quotes before deciding which surveyor to go with since different surveyors will charge varying amounts.

Why Should I Hire a Building Surveyor in London?

While it is recommended by property experts, only around 20% of private home buyers will get a private survey. However, not having a survey carried out on a prospective property can be a very expensive mistake. A survey will help you ensure that you are not paying too much for the property or facing major repair costs that you weren’t aware of before you made the purchase. Some of the top reasons why every homebuyer needs to invest in a survey include:

Avoid Costly Future Repair Costs:

On average, buyers who do not get a survey will face over £5,000 in repair costs. The survey will make you aware of any defects that might be invisible to the untrained eye when viewing the property such as hidden problems like structural damage, roof problems, and wet or dry rot that will typically only get worse after you have purchased the property and moved in. 17% of homeowners that opted not to get a survey ended up paying out a huge £12,000 just to make their homes habitable after moving in; not getting a survey isn’t worth the financial risk.

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Invest in the Right Property:

Purchasing a property is one of the most expensive purchases you are going to make in your lifetime, and with so much money on the line, it’s never been more important to ensure that you are making the right decision. You can get a building survey carried out for just a few hundred pounds; at a fraction of the price of the property itself, it’s definitely worth investing in a survey to find out whether or not your potential property is worth buying.

Renegotiate the Property Price:

Not getting a survey carried out could result in you paying more than you need to for the property. If there are any hidden defects that will require costly repairs listed in the report, you will not need to immediately start looking for a different property. In fact, many home buyers use the issues listed in the survey report to their advantage by asking the sellers to reduce the asking price by the amount that the repairs are likely to cost in the future.

Surveyors in London Are On Your Side:

Your mortgage lender will have a surveyor carry out a mortgage valuation when you apply for a mortgage for your potential new home, but it’s not wise to rely on this alone. Not only are you unlikely to see the results of the valuation, but it rarely involves an in-depth inspection that would uncover any hidden problems and defects. Mortgage valuations are for the benefit of the lender and designed to provide them with enough information about whether or not the property is safe to lend on. On the other hand, an independent property survey allows you to benefit from having a professional carry out work on your behalf. They will be committed to uncovering any defects that may cost you money in the future to help you ensure that you are getting the best deal when buying your new house.

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Why Get a Homebuyers Survey?

The RICS Homebuyers Survey is the most popular of the survey options, and there are various reasons why it is the ideal choice for anybody who is planning to buy a property. The survey will provide you with a lot of valuable information that will help you make more informed decisions throughout the process of your purchase. A Homebuyers Survey Report will:

  • Include a visual inspection of all major indoor features
  • Describe the condition and construction of the property at the inspection
  • Provide an inspection of outdoor property features and fixing
  • Inspect any visible parts of heating, drainage, gas or oil, water, and electric services
  • Provide information on areas that need further attention or investigation
  • Provide information on any potentially dangerous problems
  • Provide information on areas where you may need legal assistance

Some of the main reasons to consider getting a Homebuyers Survey before purchasing a new home include:

Peace of Mind when you purchase property in London:

Investing in a Homebuyers Survey is money well-spent when it comes to the peace of mind that it can provide you with before purchasing the property. Since buying a property is often the biggest investment that most of us will make, you will want to be completely certain that you’re making the right decision. Your Homebuyers Survey will provide further information to help you avoid making the wrong choice.

Protect Your Finances:

Purchasing a home is a major expense, and you will want to avoid any unexpected repairs or maintenance expenses in the future. Your Homebuyers Survey will identify any short- and long-term repairs and maintenance requirements, allowing you to budget for a more realistic cost.

Get a Valuation of your London property:

When you opt for a Homebuyers Survey, you will also be provided with a property valuation that is based on the property’s condition, comparable homes in the area, and the current market condition. You can then use this information when it comes to making an offer or renegotiating a price with the seller. In short, a Homebuyers Survey could result in you paying less for the property.

While a home survey is not required when purchasing a new property, there are several reasons why it’s the wisest step for potential new homeowners.

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