What Sort of Survey Should I Have?

What Sort of Survey Should I Have?

Unless you’re a building professional and can give a property a thorough inspection yourself then it’s vital to get your potential house looked at before you buy it.

If you are getting a mortgage, the provider will carry out a property valuation to ensure that the house or apartment is worth its market value, and that it can therefore lend with confidence. However, a mortgage valuation does not go deeply into the structure, or the nitty-gritty detail that could end up costing you a fortune in the long run if a defect is not identified. You may decide you want a more in-depth survey and assessing all options is advisable.

The mortgage survey costs around £250-350 and is usually included in your fees.

The documentation will be under the legal ownership of the lender so should the valuer fail to spot a costly defect then you will have no claim against them. For an extra £100 or so you can pay for a Homebuyer Survey and Valuation, which comes under the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), so will be a standard report on the condition of the property.

Despite the complex RICS language the Homebuyer Survey and Valuation will help you recognise any potential structural problems that could knock value off the property. You will also be given a new valuation that could lower your mortgage. If structural problems are found and you work out it’s going to cost say £3,000 to repair, then you should be able to get this taken off the asking price, thereby lowering your mortgage.

Next on the list is a Home Condition Survey, which is similar in price and detail to the RICS Homebuyer Survey and Valuation but will give you a bit more advice on how to deal with some of the more common problems that have been found at the property.

Finally, recommended for both new and old properties is the full Building Survey, which can cost anything from £600 to £1,000. This is a comprehensive survey – in fact the most comprehensive available – and could be well worth the extra money, especially if you’re considering purchasing an older property. It won’t actually go as far having a surveyor pulling up floorboards to look at what lies beneath but the surveyor will give an opinion on possible hidden defects.

Newer houses will still need a survey – even new builds don’t come with a guarantee of perfect quality and last year saw MPs call for a New Homes Ombudsman in the face of concerns over construction defects. At least new homes come with the 10-year warranty issued by the National House Building Council though; the Financial Times reported that the NHBC ended up paying out £87 million on claims by homeowners in 2015 alone.

What Sort of Survey Should I Have?
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What Sort of Survey Should I Have?
BDC September 2022 issue - 296

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