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Movelawyer Guides

Read through our guides where you will find useful guidance and advice

What’s a Home Survey and Why Do I Need One?

16-08-2017

Buying a house is likely to be one of the biggest and most important financial transactions you will make in your life. It is crucial that you to seek advice from an experienced and qualified property surveyor so that you can rest assured that the property you are purchasing is a sound financial investment.

Having to add unexpected repair costs – which can quickly prove to be expensive and time consuming – to your property purchase expenditures is the last thing you want. By getting a house survey from a chartered surveyor, you will receive expert advice on the structural nature of the property and will be made aware of any faults with the house; this will aid you in your decision to proceed with the purchase.

Mortgage Valuation vs. Chartered Survey

Although a mortgage valuation will be carried out by the lender, it is important to remember that this valuation is solely for their benefit as it ensures that the property is worth what is being paid for it and, hence, that the mortgage will be secure. A mortgage valuation is not sufficient for you as a buyer because it will not inform you of any structural issues with the property that could be costly for you to fix and, hence, would influence the offer you make on the house – if you should make one at all.

Your chartered surveyor could spot construction or condition problems in the form of dry rot, damp, cracked chimneys etc. Minimising the risks by utilising a chartered surveyor’s local knowledge and technical expertise is a worthy investment to make during your property purchase as you commit yourself legally and financially to your desired house.

Types of Surveys

Home surveys are regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and there are three types of home surveys available for buyers to choose from:

1. Condition Report

Recommended only for relatively new properties which are conventionally constructed, this is a basic condition survey that will identify only the significant or urgent property defects.

2. HomeBuyer Report

As well as outlining any defects or issues that could affect the value of the property, this survey includes recommendations for repair or maintenance and will advise on how urgently these repairs are needed.

3. Building Survey

This survey identifies all the defects in the property, comments on what they could mean and the possible costs of remedial work. The most detailed report available, it is highly recommended for buyers purchasing an older or run-down house, or a house on which they plan to perform extensive renovations or conversions. With this type of survey, your surveyor will also offer you advice on how to maintain and prevent possible future damages to the property.

It is advised that you search for a chartered surveyor in the region in which you are buying a house. At movelawyer.co.uk, we supply instant survey quotes from reliable surveyors in the Midlands who have been accredited by the RICS.

Advice on Repair Work

If you are buying a particularly old house, you may wish to choose a chartered surveyor that specialises in older properties. If you are planning to make any alterations or conversions to the house, your surveyor will also be qualified to advise you concerning this matter and is likely to have knowledge of local planning issues related to your desired property and its surrounding land. If your chosen survey type is the Building Survey, the survey will be tailored to your individual property and the plans you have outlined for it.

Opportunity to Renegotiate Price

If there are any issues raised by your surveyor, you will need to enter into discussion with the seller of the property. There are two conventional routes available: they either agree to accept a lower offer price from you, or they carry out the necessary repairs as a condition of the sale. In the case of the latter, such an agreement would require a legal contract and would need to be confirmed in writing. Whichever route you decide to take, your RICS survey report will provide you with the expert information needed to negotiate confidently.

Peace of Mind

A house survey should prevent you from having any nasty and expensive structural surprises once you move into your new home. It is your responsibility as the buyer to organise a detailed and independent survey in order to see if there are any structural or construction issues with the property.