House purchase survey

What is a Structural Survey?

If you are thinking of buying a new home, you will need to have some kind of survey carried out. There are various types of surveys to choose from, and many potential home buyers might be wondering whether they will need to have a structural survey done, or whether a more basic home survey will be sufficient. We’ll take a look at the different types of house buying surveys that you can arrange as a potential home buyer, the advantages and disadvantage of each survey type, and why a structural survey might be the best option if you want to save money in the long run when purchasing your new home.

What are the House Purchase Survey Options?

If you are thinking of buying a property, you will need to arrange for a qualified surveyor to inspect the property and ensure that it is structurally sound. If you are in the process of purchasing a new residential property, there are three types of building surveys to choose from.

Mortgage Valuation Report:

This survey is mainly for the benefit of your lender and will not usually inform you about any potential defects or problems with the property. With a mortgage valuation report, the surveyor may or may not visit the property in person and is more likely to use online data to determine the worth of the property and how it matches up with the agreed sale price. Many lenders offer this survey for free, but even if you are paying for it, it is usually the most inexpensive type of survey and will not warn you of any defects that are not immediately obvious. Because of this, you should not rely on the mortgage survey alone to find out more information on the property before buying.

Homebuyer’s Survey:

This is a mid-level survey that is more in-depth compared to a mortgage valuation but will not be as intensive or comprehensive compared to a complete structural survey. It will be carried out by a chartered surveyor who will make an overall assessment of the property’s condition and look for any problems that are likely to require immediate repairs or urgent attention. For most properties, this type of survey is usually sufficient. However, if you are planning to purchase an old property, listed building, property with obvious defects, or have plans for major renovations in the future, it might not be adequate enough.

Independent home buyers survey

Structural Survey:

The full structural survey is the most comprehensive type of building survey available. The chartered surveyor will conduct a detailed structural survey of the property from the top to the bottom, looking at all aspects of the building structure including the condition of the roof, the integrity of the walls and ceilings, the condition of the foundations, and the types of materials used. The surveyor will actively search for any potential defects and problems with the building, even if they are not immediately obvious. Because of this, it is often the most cost-effective type of survey to go for since it can often inform you of issues that might not be discovered in a regular homebuyer’s survey. Once the survey has been completed, you will be presented with a detailed report that will identify any issues found and provide advice on how to repair them.

House purchase survey

Do You Need to Have a House Purchase Survey?

Although getting a survey carried out when buying a new home is not a legal requirement, there are many reasons why it’s a good idea to have it done. In addition, many mortgage lenders will require you to have a homebuyer’s survey or a structural survey carried out before they will agree to offer you the loan that you have applied for. If you are planning to purchase a property that has been recently built in the last ten years, then it should still be covered by the developer’s warranty or guarantee, in which case, a homebuyer’s survey or a snagging survey designed specifically for new build properties will usually be sufficient, as the warranty will cover the property against all major defects. In this case, it is only worth having a structural survey carried out if the property is in an obviously poor state.

Building Survey for House Purchase – What Does the Surveyor Look For?

When carrying out a structural survey on a property, the surveyor will look at the design and construction of the property. They will also actively look for a wide range of property-related issues such as lintels that have been removed or damaged, whether any supporting walls have been moved or altered, any changes to the property that have been carried out without gaining the necessary planning permission, any presence of hazardous materials such as asbestos that will need to be professionally removed, and any evidence of subsidence in the foundations. The surveyor will also search for any damp-related issues like rising damp or dry rot, and any evidence of insect infestations such as woodworm. The roof will be thoroughly inspected for any signs of problems, and window frames will be assessed for damage and rot. The plumbing, electrics, and insulation will also be inspected for potential issues, and the surveyor will take note of any potential areas of concern such as party wall issues if you plan to make changes to the property in the future.

Homebuyers Report Cost

Do You Need an Environmental Survey for a House Purchase?

An environmental search is carried out by an environmental agency. It will provide you with details of how the land in the vicinity of the property has been used in the past, and whether this is likely to have led to any potential contamination or damage to the land where the property has been built.

An environmental search or survey is an important part of the purchase process since you may be liable for covering the cost of cleaning up the land and removing the contamination if it is found to be contaminated. It is best to have an enhanced search carried out since this will provide you with more information on the local area aside from standard issues such as flooding or mining. You can use the search to find out whether there are any electricity transmission lines or pylons located within 500 metres of the property, whether there are any existing or potential mobile mast locations close to the property, whether there have been any planning applications for home extensions or other building projects within 250 metres of the house, and other information about farming, entertainment, hotels, eating and drinking, animal welfare, vehicle services, emergency services, local recreational areas, public facilities, hospitals, recycling services, attractions, retail, and cultural services in the area.

One of the main reasons for an environmental search, however, is to determine if the property is at risk of flooding. It is crucial to determine the risk of flooding to the property before making the purchase since this can have an impact on your insurance premiums, ability to get a mortgage, and the value of the property if you plan to sell it in the future. If a high risk of flooding in the area is revealed as a result of the search, it’s important to contact insurance companies to determine if there are any concerns before you make the decision to purchase.

Mortgage valuation survey - what do they look for

More Benefits of Getting a Structural Survey:

If you have a more basic survey carried out before buying a property, you will not have any protection in the future if you find any defects or issues with your property. Since mortgage valuations and homebuyer surveys are quite basic in terms of their scope, they will not usually find all the problems or potential problems that a property might have.

On the other hand, having a structural survey carried out means that the surveyor is acting on your behalf to find any major problems or issues that could lead to major problems with the property in the future. If you find any issues that should have been picked up by the survey in the future, you may be able to claim compensation from your surveyor.

Since the structural survey is very comprehensive, it will not only detail any concerns or issues found during the survey but will also provide you with an estimate of the likely costs of carrying out the necessary repairs. This can be useful information to have when it comes to negotiating the price of the house and may help you get a lower price to make up for the cost of repairs.

Pulling Out of a House Purchase After a Survey:

After a structural survey has been carried out, you can make an informed decision regarding whether or not you still want to go ahead with the sale. You may want to first try negotiating with the seller for a lower price if the survey indicates that there will be costly repairs to carry out in order to restore the property’s condition.

If you are considering buying a new home, getting a structural survey carried out is the best way to find out more about any current or future problems, helping you make an informed decision about the purchase.