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Selecting The Right Survey

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Selecting The Right Survey

When buying a property, especially if it is your first property purchase, you may be unsure whether you need an independent survey, or which survey is appropriate. We offer our buyers guidance and advice on these matters, we understand that when spending such a large sum, any defects which could cost money in the future or reduce the re-sale value are worth being aware of. We also understand that with certain properties a arranging a full structural survey would not be money well spent. This article will give you a brief overview of the types of survey you can obtain and the ways in which you can best spend you money getting the facts straight about the condition of the property you are looking to buy.

Types of Survey

There are three general surveys you can choose from. The price will of course vary depending on the type and size of property location and general economic conditions:

  1. Valuation (Circa £250 to £350) — this survey is mainly to assess the value of the property and can be used to get a second opinion on the agreed purchase price. Most lenders will require you to pay their surveyors to carryout a valuation survey on their behalf to confirm the sum they are lending is suitable and could be recouped via re-sale if you failed to make re-payments. Usually a surveyor will spend about 30 minutes looking generally at the condition of the house, but will only flag any serious defects.
  2. Home Buyer’s Survey (Circa £350 to £550) – This is the most common type of survey obtained. The Home Buyer’s Survey will entail the surveyor spending around 1 hour at the property. They will usually look closely at all areas of the property, both internal and external, including the loft and basement (if accessible). The report will detail any defects seen and grade these usually on a scale from 1 to 3, 3 being the most concerning.
  3. Full Structural (Circa £650 to £950) – This is the most detailed general survey. However, please bear in mind the surveyor is like a GP; they have a general training on all areas of property, but are not specialists in electrics, gas, roofing, damp or any other areas. Meaning that they will only normally be able to spot a problem and will then advise you to obtain specialist advice on this matter. They will spend about 1.5 to 2 hours in the house for this survey, but they are, as with other surveys, not permitted to physically move any items, such as floorboards, furniture, paintwork etc. Meaning, to reveal the source and cost of remediation you will most likely also need a specialist who will visit after you have obtained the vendor’s permission to investigate further.

If you are buying a new build property or an apartment in a managed building usually the valuation will suffice. If you are buying an older property a Home Buyer’s Survey would be advisable, followed up by any specific specialist investigations recommended on the survey report.

What if I am selling?

As a seller, it is of course sensible to ensure there are no serious defects which could jeopardise the sale of your property. Seeking professional advice prior to marketing and correcting any faults is always sensible. If you are not in a position to do so, just being aware of the defects and being honest about them is wise. Meaning, a buyer is entering into the purchase with their eyes open and no surprises will be revealed which would cause the sale to fall through.

NB: Ensure that you are using a certified surveyor to conduct the survey. The registered surveyors are part of either RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) or RPSA( Residential Property Surveyors Association).