There are several different types of survey to choose from when looking into buying a property. There is no specific requirement for a property survey; however, it is highly recommended as a survey can help to flag up any potential issues before the property has been purchased. Types of problems that may be picked up on in a survey include structural problems such as subsidence and any major repairs, such as the roof.
It is important to note that a mortgage valuation is not a recommended survey; it is simply a cursory look at the property to assess its value. It is required by lenders to gauge how much the property is worth and whether that property is sufficient security for the loan.
You can commission a full survey before committing to purchase so you can make an informed decision. There are four main types of survey.
A valuation survey is primarily for the mortgage lender to establish the value of the property should it have to be repossessed. The lender will require you to choose a company they trust, and you will usually have to pay for it. Prices vary depending on the size of the property but on average, start at around £300. Some valuation surveys are based on sale prices of similar properties in the area, known as ‘desktop valuations.’ Others are known as ‘drive-by valuations’ where the surveyor assesses the property from outside the house. Only in some cases will the surveyor enter the property for closer inspection. These types of survey are unlikely to flag up any structural issues or major repairs. It is important to remember that valuation surveys often only hold liability with the lender, and although the purchaser pays for the survey, they don’t have any comeback should something be missed.
Introduced in 2011, condition reports are the cheapest option starting from around £100, depending on the size of the property. This type of report does not include a property valuation. Condition reports are designed for newer properties and provide a clear roundup of the condition of the building, as well as details of urgent faults and advice for legal advisors. While concise, this type of survey is relatively simple and may miss complex issues. It is therefore recommended that a condition report is only carried out if you feel confident on the state of the building – usually if it is relatively new.
A homebuyer report looks into the property in further detail than a condition report and includes a valuation as well as an estimate of the insurance rebuild cost. The advice contained in a homebuyer report considers defects that may affect the value of the property, such as damp and flood risk, as well as repairs and ongoing maintenance costs. A homebuyer report is usually considered a good choice for conventional homes built within the last 100 years.
If the property’s structure is a particular cause for concern, a full structural survey is highly recommended. Properties that are older, have been poorly maintained or uninhabited for a period of time may fall into this category. It is also recommended for larger properties or ones where extensive works are planned. A structural survey will include in-depth details of defects, and repair and maintenance options. A survey of this type can help to identify many different problems that may have been hidden and could help to avoid unexpected repairs totalling thousands of pounds.
Other Types of Survey
An experienced chartered surveyor can provide advice on any other survey a specific property may require. For example, a listed building survey should be carried out if you are considering purchasing a listed building of any grade. A listed building survey is similar to a structural survey but can include advice specific to the restrictions posed by the buildings listed grade. New build buyers may want to consider a professional snagging survey, which can identify minor issues before you move in, such as misaligned doors.
For details and advice on building surveys, contact Martin Perry Associates today. As experienced chartered surveyors, we can provide full structural reports for planning purposes and building regulations. We can also provide structural engineering services in Truro and the West Country.