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A guide to Property Surveys

What is a home or property survey?

Home surveys allow you to ascertain the true value of a building and any potential structural issues.

Who does the home or property survey?

The home or property survey should always be carried out by a qualified surveyor who is an active member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors(RICS) or the Residential Property Surveyors Association(RPSA).

Why should I get a home or property survey?

As with anything a home or property can come with expensive surprises. Getting a home or property survey will allow you to negotiate prices or decide if you really want the property based in its condition. It will also give you an insight into what your home insurance costs will be and allow you to evaluate if to go ahead or not.

Old properties, properties with timber frames and listed properties seem to be at most risk of issue. Most lenders will insists on a basic valuation report before giving you a mortgage offer to ensure they are not lending on a risky asset.

What should I do if I discover issues in my home or property survey?

Your report might find issues and this is fairly normal.

Find out if you are covered by any guarantee
Check replacement costs and get quotes from different builders.
Renegotiate with your seller now you have costs in hand.

What are the types of home or property survey?

When buying a home it is usually recommended you get a home or property survey but there are many different types of surveys. Here are a few and how they can help you.

A Royal Institute of chartered Surveyors Homebuyers Report(RICS)

This is a more focussed and detailed report that highlights specific structural problems such as damp.The survey will not be so detailed whereby the surveyor will move things around but rather one where he will simply observe what is in plain sight(such as unregulated builds or structures)and compile a report as well as any repair, maintenance and replacement costs.This survey usually comes with a property valuation.

A Royal Institute of chartered Surveyors Report(RICS)

This is a basic report that does not go into detail but simply ranks the property with a traffic light system. The ranked areas gives you an insight into if further investigation is needed.

A Mortgage Lender's Valuation report

A mortgage lender’s valuation is not a house survey.
It’s carried out on your mortgage lender’s behalf and you usually pay for it. It serves to highlight any major known issues the property has as well as give some insight into the properties true value by confirming an independent valuation. This allows the lender to assert how much to lend to you in relation to their valuation of the property.

Your Mortgage lender will request this report before they make you a mortgage offer so its a cost you will incur before you get any real confirmation that you can qualify for a suitable mortgage product. This is why a good digital mortgage broker is essential to guide you before this point.

A Royal Institute of chartered Surveyors Building survey(RICS)
This survey is hands down the best and most detailed survey available. It goes into detail on the properties structure and condition. The surveyor will spend a few hours looking into every corner, removing floor boards, going into the roof, investigating any issues or red flags and at the end he/she will compile a report on the repair cost, replacement cost, and maintenance cost. The surveyor will give you advice on what to do next.

SAVA conditional home survey

This is similar to the Rics HomeBuyers report However it does not include a market valuation. You can download an example of a SAVA home condition survey here.

New Building snagging survey

This survey is essentially for new homes to ensure they are structurally sound and to allow the buyer to get recourse from the property developer. Issues such as structural or small cosmetic issues should be given to the property developer before you move into the property so they can be sorted quickly and under under your two-year developer warranty.Every new home buyer should consider this survey.

Conclusions

You should always consider a property survey as its benefits far outweigh the cost. A local surveyor with local knowledge will be better and seek advice from your digital mortgage broker in regards to what surveyors/surveys are best suited to certain property types. E.g listed properties might be more suited for a RICS homebuyer report etc.

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A guide to Property Surveys
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