Independent home buyers survey

6 Reasons Why Having a Survey is Sensible when Purchasing a Property

You’ve been searching for a new home for a while and have finally found one that you love and can see yourself living in for a long time. After making your offer and having it accepted by the seller, you’re probably excited to get started with the process of transferring ownership and eventually moving into your new home. However, before going any further, it’s a wise idea to make sure that you have as much information on the house as possible so that you can make the most informed decision. The last thing that any homebuyer wants is to make a huge property investment, only to find hidden issues later down the line that will cost a lot to repair.

The best way to get as much information on the property as possible before purchasing is with a property survey carried out by a chartered surveyor. This will involve an inspection of the property to ensure that it is structurally sound, find any defects or potential issues that might worsen in the future, and provide you with more information on the type and cost of repairs that you might need to make in the future. On average, buyers who invest in a survey before purchasing a house will save around £5,000 in future repairs. On the other side, buyers who don’t get a survey could end up paying over £12,000 to repair the property afterwards.

So, why is investing in a survey the most sensible step when buying a new home, and what type of surveys are available?

Types of Independent Home Buyers Survey Available

The first step is to determine the best type of survey for the property that you are planning to purchase. Regardless of the property, it is likely that your mortgage lender will carry out a short valuation survey to ensure that it is worth the price that you’re going to pay for it, but this does not replace an independent home buyer’s survey and should not be treated as such. Surveyors offer four main different survey types, which are suitable for different properties. These include:

Change of address - who to notify

Snagging Survey:

These surveys are designed specifically for new build properties and will involve inspecting the house for any faults and defects from minor cosmetic problems to major structural faults. You can use the report provided to ask the property developer to make the necessary repairs to your property as per your warranty.

Condition Report:

This is a basic type of survey that is often recommended for properties that are fairly new and in good condition. It does not go into a huge amount of detail but will provide a general overview of the property along with information on any major issues that will need your immediate attention. You will be provided with a traffic-light style report that will rate the various areas of the property based on their condition and the amount of work that will be needed.

Homebuyer’s Survey:

This is the most popular type of survey and is recommended for most properties that are in reasonable condition and of an average age. If you are buying almost any property that does not have any obvious defects, this survey should be the ideal choice for you. The surveyor will take up to four hours in the property to carry out a full visual inspection of the interior and exterior features along with looking at the gas and electric systems, particularly any visible areas. The surveyor will also look for any potentially serious structural issues, the presence of any dangerous materials such as asbestos, damp, dry rot, wet rot, and insect infestations such as termites. Once the survey is completed you will be given a report that will provide a general overview of the property, identify any issues or defects found, inform you of anything that needs immediate attention, does not comply with building regulations or might be a potential health and safety hazard, and an average figure for how much you might spend on repairing the issues found. Some reports will also provide you with an average figure for building the property from the ground up which can be helpful when you get home insurance.

Building Survey:

Also known as a full structural survey, this is the most in-depth survey option available and your surveyor may need to have access to the entire house for a full day in order to carry it out successfully. This survey is more invasive compared to the homebuyer’s survey and will involve the surveyor needing access to areas such as a loft, attic or basement, underneath the floorboards, and behind all furniture. This type of survey is usually recommended for those who are buying an older property, a property with an unusual layout or built from unconventional materials, or a property that has obvious defects. You may also want to consider getting a full structural survey carried out if you are planning to carry out significant renovations on a property once you have purchased it.

What does a damp survey involve?

Why Having a Full Home Buyers Survey is a Wise Idea:

While it is recommended by property experts, only around 20% of buyers will actually have a survey carried out. Although it’s not a legal requirement to get your potential new property surveyed before you complete the sale there are many reasons why it is the most sensible way forward.

1.     Mortgage Requirements:

Check with your mortgage lender to see if a survey is mentioned in the terms and conditions of the loan. In many cases, mortgage lenders are reluctant to lend to buyers who do not have a survey carried out on the property since the results of the survey could have an impact on the value of the home.

2.     Future Home Insurance:

Getting a survey carried out on the property gives you a clear picture of any defects and issues which need to be repaired. As a result, it highlights information that will be important to your future home insurance company, which can make it easier for you to get the premium that you want. In addition, repairing the issues can reduce your home insurance policy premiums in the future.

3.     Buy the Right Home:

A house is the biggest purchase you’re likely to ever make in your life, so it’s never been more important to make sure that you are buying the right one! A homebuyer’s survey will give you the chance to find out as much as possible about the property before making your final decision about whether or not you would like to go ahead with the sale. After all, you might not be up for buying a property that has a lot of issues, but there is often no way of knowing what defects the house might be hiding without having a survey carried out.

Homebuyer survey on new properties

4.     Save Money:

On average, buyers who have a survey carried out will save around five thousand pounds on future repair costs, which is a massive saving considering that the survey itself only costs an average of £400-£500 depending on the size and type of property. When you have a survey carried out, you will avoid the risk of any hidden problems with the home getting worse once you have moved in. Being aware of and able to repair issues immediately upon completion of the sale means that you can reduce the risk of expensive and shocking bills later down the line.

5.     Safer Living:

Some issues with properties are not visible to the naked eye but might be extremely dangerous to live around. Asbestos, for example, might be present in a property but there is no way of telling this just by looking around. Over time, when you decide to decorate the home, you might disturb the asbestos without even realising the amount of danger that you are putting yourself in. Getting a survey carried out ensures peace of mind when it comes to the health and safety of yourself and your family.

6.     Cheaper Sale:

Not getting a survey carried out on the property could mean that you end up paying more than you need to for it. When a survey comes back with defects and issues that you will need to pay to have repaired in the future, you may want to use this information to negotiate a cheaper asking price with the seller and eventually save money on the purchase of your home. Many sellers are looking to get a quick sale and know that any future surveys are going to yield the same results, so will be happy to reduce the asking price so that you’re able to put the difference towards the repairs in the future rather than having to pay for them on top of the price you pay for the house.

No matter what type of property you’re looking to buy, it’s a sensible idea to invest in a building survey before deciding whether or not to go ahead with the sale. When you’ve found a property you like, a survey will establish all the information that you need to know about it to make an informed decision.