Buying a house is likely to be the biggest, most important purchase that you will ever make, so it is easy to understand why so many homebuyers make use of surveys before committing to buying a property.
To help homebuyers make the right choice when deciding on which survey (if any) to choose, we have taken a look at the various surveys on offer:
What is a house survey?
A house survey is an assessment of a property used to identify any major issues with the property to a prospective buyer. They are usually carried out by a Chartered Surveyor, who will visit the property, conduct an inspection and prepare a report on their findings.
Be careful not to confuse a mortgage valuation with a house survey, as this is just to check the valuation of the property is accurate for the lender and will not look into problems with the property.
Is conducting a survey a requirement?
Buying a new house is a very expensive transaction and a survey can often feel like an avoidable expense.
Whilst a survey isn’t a legal requirement, it is far better to be aware of any potential problems before you buy a house so that you can make an informed decision about how much you are willing to pay for it and anticipate any repair work that will need doing. The information from the report can also help you to renegotiate the price with the sellers.
What are the different types of survey?
When selecting which survey to have it is recommended that you ensure your surveyor is regulated by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) as they will provide you with clear expert advice.
RICS offers three main types of house survey:
- The Condition Report
- The HomeBuyer Report
- The Building Survey
The Condition Report is the most basic type of survey. It will give an overview of the properties condition and highlight significant issues without going into significant detail. This survey is best when you are buying a relatively new property that has had no previous issues and are looking for reassurance that everything is up to scratch. These surveys cost between £400 and £900 depending on the size of your property.
The HomeBuyer Report is more detailed than the Condition Report. It will cover issues such as damp and subsidence as well as advice on necessary repairs and any aspect of the property that doesn’t meet current building regulations. However, the inspection will only look at surface level issues. This type of survey is the most popular amongst buyers and is the recommended choice for properties in a reasonable condition. This survey costs between £450 and £1000 depending on property size.
The Building Survey is the most in-depth survey you can get. It provides a thorough analysis of the structure and condition of the property as well as listing all defects. The surveyor will conduct an in-depth assessment including looking in the attic and under floorboards. This study is recommended for houses that are in poor condition, over the age of fifty years or if you are considering carrying out significant work on the property. These surveys cost between £600 and £1500.