What Type of Survey Should I Have?

When buying a property you will need to decide which type of survey you will have done. If you intend to take out a mortgage the lender will insist on carrying out a mortgage valuation. Although your lender will pass on the cost of the valuation to you it is primarily for their benefit. It is how they ensure that the property provides adequate security for the loan that you are requesting. 

The mortgage valuation is not a survey but merely a brief inspection to assist with the valuation. It will only highlight defects that have a material effect on the properties status as security. Despite this a large majority of buyers rely solely upon the Lender’s valuation and don’t instruct a more detailed survey. 

This could be a false economy as you could end up buying a property with defects that are expensive to put right and have no come back. A survey can save you money buy giving you the ammunition to negotiate a reduction if the property that you are buying has some problems. The two more detailed types of survey are: 

Homebuyer’s Survey and Valuation Report

Often referred to as a Homebuyer’s Report this survey is in a format designed by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and can only be carried out by Chartered Surveyors. This survey is suitable for most types of properties and is by far the most common of the more in depth surveys. The report focuses on matters that have a material effect on the value of the property or defects that are in need of urgent repair. It covers the following:

  • General background information on the property and its location.
  • Evidence of the three greatest potential threats to the structure of the building; timber defects, movement and dampness.
  • An inspection of the interior and exterior of the property covering the main elements.
  • An overview of the services including recommendations for further testing if required.
  • The current market value and a valuation for insurance purposes.

You should try and read the report right the way through although there is a summary on the front page and a reminder of all the urgent repairs toward the end.

Building Survey

This is the most thorough type of survey available for residential property and used to be called a Full Structural Survey. It is most suitable for older style properties or properties that have been substantially altered from their original state.

The report does not include a valuation although this can be added by arrangement with the surveyor. It is more detailed than a Homebuyers Report, pointing out even the more minor defects and providing some guidance of the cost of any recommended works.

It is best to discuss your requirements with a firm of Surveyors that offers both types of survey so that you know the advice will be unbiased and if there is anything in the finished report that you don’t understand do not hesitate to call the surveyor and ask for clarification. The surveyors that are included in our list are smaller firms of local Chartered Surveyors that should have the local knowledge and experience to give you the best advice.

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