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Survey info

Helpful information about the different types of property surveys.

Ahead of exchanging contracts, the point at which you are legally bound to complete on your purchase, we recommend you commission a survey on the property you are buying.

It is important that you are aware of the physical condition of the property, because once you commit to buying it and the purchase completes, you will take on full responsibility for any repairs that are needed, even though any issues may not have been disclosed to you by the seller or their conveyancer prior to exchange of contracts. This is particularly important if you are buying a listed building, because if it transpires that alterations have been made without the relevant consents, you will find yourself financially responsible for reverting those alterations.

Here we take a look at the different types of survey. If at any point you are unsure as to which type of survey to opt for, don’t hesitate to discuss the matter with your case handler, who will be happy to guide you. If you are using a mortgage to buy your property then you may also find the lender helpful in this respect. You should also discuss any particular concerns you have over the state of the property with us, so that we can raise these with the seller’s conveyancer.

Also don’t forget that a ‘valuation survey’ is just that: it exists only for your mortgage lender to verify that the property is worth the amount they are lending you. It won’t provide you with any feedback on the condition of the property, or any issues that need attention.

Types of Survey

Homebuyer’s Report

This is a survey set to a format laid down by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). It is suitable for modern properties of conventional build that are in reasonable condition. This type of survey may also be suitable for an older property, providing it is in a reasonable state of repair.

The survey provides condition ratings of each of the elements of the property, including permanent structures such as garages. The report will bring to attention any problems deemed important, and that could affect the value of the property.

A valuation will be included, together with insurance rebuild costs. Ongoing maintenance advice will also be provided. Services will not be tested but an overview of their condition based on visual inspection will be noted.

Building Survey

Also known as a ‘full structural’ survey, this is a highly thorough investigation of a property, reporting on every part that is visible and safely accessible.

The Building Survey should be carried out by a RICS surveyor. It provides greater detail than a Homebuyer’s Report, analysing the construction and condition, and adaptable to particular requirements depending on the property.

Whilst it is suitable for any age or type of home, the Building Survey is particularly useful for older properties in disrepair, those that have been altered extensively, thatched houses and listed buildings. If you are planning to convert or renovate the property, you will find such a survey most useful. You will be provided with advice on repairs and defects as well as on future maintenance.

You can request a valuation with this survey, but it won’t come as standard.

As we said, we are on hand to help if there is anything you are unsure of concerning the survey of your property, so please do not hesitate to get in touch.