When buying a home do you know what you are letting yourself in for? It may have problems you will not be aware of,...
When buying a home do you know what you are letting yourself in for? It may have problems you will not be aware of, but which a qualified member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is trained to look for and report on.
Before you commit make sure you have a survey to help you make an informed decision on whether to go ahead with buying the property, decide what is a reasonable price to pay for the property, take account of any repairs or replacements the property needs and consider if you need any further advice before exchanging contracts.
A Mortgage Valuation will not give you the answers you need as it is not a Survey. It is a limited inspection that is required by your mortgage lender to ensure the property is worth enough to protect the money they are planning to lend you.
The Consumers’ Association magazine “Which?” and the Council of Mortgage Lenders both agree that it is not a substitute for an inspection by your own surveyor.
There are two main types of Survey that are specifically designed to help homebuyers. These are the RICS HomeBuyer Service and a Building Survey.
RICS HomeBuyer Service
If the property that interests you is, like most of the homes on the market, traditionally built, straightforward and in apparently reasonable condition this survey will probably fit the bill. The RICS HomeBuyer Report is presented in a compact, standard format and is colour coded to make it easy to see if and where there are problems with the condition of the property.
It will help you make a reasoned and informed decision on whether to go ahead with buying the property, what is a reasonable price to pay for the property, the repairs the property needs and the advice that needs to be taken before exchange of contracts.
A HomeBuyer Survey is not suitable for properties in need of renovation, or if you are planning major alterations; for this you require a Building Survey.
This type of report is likely to be needed for Listed Buildings, older properties, those with unusual construction, serious dilapidation, extensive alteration or enlargement undertaken in the past or where future major conversion or renovation is planned.
A Building Survey includes a detailed assessment of the condition and construction of the property, details of major and minor defects, implications for future maintenance and recommendations for action in the short and long term. It does not normally include a valuation, but one can be provided for an additional fee, if required.
Naturally the process of inspection and reporting is considerably more time consuming and a higher scale of fees reflects the additional work. The Building Survey is therefore a detailed more technical report that is tailored to suit your needs.