You’re not bound by law to have a survey done on a property you’re buying, but while it may feel like an unnecessary expense given all the other costs involved in homebuying, it could actually save money and stress in the longer-term.

A survey is basically a health check on a property. If the property fails the health check, you’d want to know about it before you proceed so that you can negotiate with the seller or – if the worst is revealed – pull out of the sale. There are a number of different types of survey ranging in cost:

A condition report

This is the most basic type of survey. It provides an overview of the property’s condition and highlights significant issues, but doesn’t go into detail.

A HomeBuyer’s report

This is more comprehensive and highlights problems like damp and subsidence as well as anything that doesn’t meet current building regulations. The survey will include advice on necessary repairs but it’s non-intrusive, so the surveyor will only be picking up what they can see.

A building survey

This is the most comprehensive of the three. It analyses the structure and condition of the property, lists defects and advises on repairs and maintenance. Unlike the Homebuyer’s report the surveyor will carry out a hands-on investigation, eg. checking the loft or looking under carpets and floorboards.

If you’re buying a very old or listed property, or one that has an unusual structure, you should go for a building survey or you could be taking a risk if you proceed with the purchase without really knowing what you’re buying.

For those buying a new-build property, however, you might just consider getting a snagging survey, as new-builds typically come with a guarantee where the builder will put things right if you find a more serious fault.

Remember, the lender’s valuation of the property is not a survey. It simply gives a value of the property to make sure it’s worth the sale price before the mortgage can be approved.

As a member of Openwork, I can refer you to the Openwork Surveying service, which provides:

  • Access to a large network of approved surveyors across England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Access to surveyors who focus on undertaking Homebuyers and Building surveys, rather than just simply undertaking valuations
  • A straightforward process where you are involved in the decision-making
  • Peace of mind that you won’t have any potentially costly surprises after you’ve moved in

To discuss buying, selling or surveying a property please get in touch.

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