Property surveys are commonly completed in the process of buying and selling houses. These surveys examine the property’s condition and highlight any particular faults to the structure. There are different levels of house surveys, and each one will make suggestions for repairs and maintenance that are required.
Property surveys provide different levels of detail. They are conducted by industry experts and provide a true understanding of the condition of the property. Expect to pay different amounts depending on the level of survey you need but before you commit to a survey, let’s take a closer look at your options.
Why do I need a property survey?
A property survey can protect you against unwanted surprises and highlight issues that you may otherwise miss. Some are even linked to legal issues that you will want to be aware of as soon as possible.
A property survey will reveal anything hidden from your attention so you are not faced with costly repairs further down the line. This can put you in a stronger position as a buyer because if there are electrical faults or structural repairs that you were otherwise unaware of, you can make a lower offer based on the price they cost to fix.
What is a building survey?
A building survey is essentially an expert opinion of a property’s condition. They highlight everything from structural issues to small faults that require your attention. Each report is conducted to different levels of detail depending on the price paid.
Most home buyers pay for a survey after they’ve had an offer accepted but before the exchange of contracts.
A full building survey includes an inspection of the building, a full survey report, and may even include a valuation of the property
What does a building survey include?
A full homebuyers survey includes an inspection of all the parts of a building from the floors, windows and doors, the loft and roof, and the condition of the walls both indoors and out.
Every room is inspected, even cellars, as is every part of the house including chimneys. Surveyors are legally obliged to look for and report major issues and potential issues with a property and include them in their report.
The more issues included in the report, the more room the buyer has to negotiate the price.
Different types of building surveys
The three different types of house surveys available include:
A level one survey, a condition report is the most basic report and will cost between £400 – £1,000. It looks at potential risks but not to the same level as other reports. It is a good option for anyone buying a new home that is already in good condition.
A level two survey, the HomeBuyer report includes all the same level of detail as the condition report and more. It will look at the defects that can affect the property and even advise on repairs or how to maintain the property.
A market valuation might be included, but it is an additional service, meaning there is often an additional charge. HomeBuyer reports tend to be for properties that are in decent condition and cost anywhere between £500 – £1,000.
Full building survey
The most in-depth survey, known as a level 3 report, provides an expert opinion on the condition and is a more comprehensive survey suitable for old properties and renovation projects that are in poor condition. This makes it more expensive and can cost anywhere between £700 – £2,000.
Choosing the right surveyor
Completing a survey on a house requires a qualified surveyor. Most surveyors will be members of governing bodies such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Sava, or RPSA. This inspires confidence that they have the high standards expected of such an organisation. There are alternative ones, and it is a good idea to check each regulator to see if the surveyor is indeed qualified.
How long does a property survey take?
The surveyor will need between 2 – 5 hours to inspect the property on average. The time it takes will depend on the level of survey, and the size of the property. The surveyor will then write up the report detailing everything they have discovered, make recommendations, and if applicable, a house valuation.
How much does a house survey cost?
The cost of a house survey will vary up and down the UK and is determined by location, property type, size, and the type of survey you wish to pay for. Most range between £400 – £2,000.
The price of a survey is often made back in recommended repairs. This allows the buyer to negotiate a more favourable price that takes the cost of repairs that are identified in the report into consideration.
Are house surveys compulsory in the UK?
Although it is not a legal requirement, the majority of house buyers tend to pay for a house survey. This can save the buyer a lot of money and prevent any unwanted surprises from cropping up later on.
A house survey is the closest you can get to know your property well before moving in. A surveyor will know exactly what to look for, so if the property has subsidence, they will be able to tell and save you from making an expensive investment.
Although they are not compulsory, most surveys tend to pay for themselves, and then some. By highlighting faults and repair work required, house surveys allow buyers to negotiate the price.
Sometimes, house surveys even highlight significant flaws that can leave a buyer walking away and withdrawing their offer.
The above applies to buyers in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. However, in Scotland, the seller takes on the responsibility of having a home report available when the time comes to list a property on the market.
Visit this link for more information on house surveys.
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