Surveys

Home Condition Reports, Homebuyer Reports & Building Survey Specialists

​What sort of survey should you go for?

Not all surveys are the same, and the one you need will largely depend on both the type of property you are buying and its location.
 
There is often no point paying for a full structural survey if you are buying a new build home, for example, whereas those purchasing near a river would be well advised to get the flood risk thoroughly checked out before signing on the dotted line.
 
Be prepared to budget for more than one survey in case your first purchase falls through.

​Home Condition Report

This survey provides an objective overview of the condition of the property, highlighting areas of major concern, but without extensive detail. It is useful for buyers purchasing a modern house in good condition - or for sellers and owners. 
 
Condition Reports are the cheapest option and usually cost from £250 +vat  You will not, however, get a property valuation with a survey of this kind.
 
This may not prove a problem if - like most people - you are funding the purchase with a mortgage, as the lender providing the mortgage should carry out a valuation anyway.

​Homebuyer Report

A Homebuyer Report is more detailed and can often be carried out at the same time as a valuation report. However, if you’re going for a Homebuyer Report that includes a valuation and you're commissioning this yourself, you’ll need to make sure that the surveyor you use will be accepted by the mortgage lender for the purposes of the valuation. 
 
This type of survey is the most popular report for buyers and is most suitable for modern properties, or a standard older building in a reasonable condition. The results will give advice on any defects that may affect the value of the property, along with recommendations for repairs and ongoing maintenance.
 
It excludes cost estimates for repairs and any detailed description of the construction of the building or detailed advice on specific defects.
 
Costs fall between about £250 and £500 and, because it includes advice on defects that may affect the value of the property due to repairs and ongoing maintenance, it is a good choice if you have some concerns about the state of the property and how much any problems could cost to fix further down the line.
 
These could include urgent issues that need inspecting by a specialist before you sign a contract, including results of tests for damp in walls and damage to timbers - including woodworm or rot.
It's not usually suitable for properties in need of renovation, or if you're planning major alterations. 

​Building Survey

This is the flagship service providing a detailed report on a property. 
 
It is particularly useful for older, larger or non-traditional properties, those that have been extensively altered, or if the buyer is planning a major conversion or renovation. Clearly this survey will be necessary if the property is dilapidated.
 
A Building Survey is a comprehensive report providing a full breakdown of the fabric and condition of the property, with diagnosis of defects, and repairs and maintenance advice. 
 
An estimate of repair may can also be offered as an optional service to be provided in the report, if it is agreed with the client in advance.
 
As with the other two types of survey, costs will vary depending on the size of the property and where it is. 
 
However, you can expect to pay around £1,000 for a survey of this kind. This may sound steep but it can be well worth paying if it identifies issues which could cost thousands to put right.  
 
A full structural survey should provide you with all the information you'll need to decide whether or not you want to proceed with the purchase or pull out because it has identified problems you hadn't anticipated.
 
However, unlike the Homebuyer Report, a full building survey will typically not include a valuation of the property – the mortgage lender would usually commission the valuation and you’d be free to arrange your own survey.  
 
There are then a number of specialist reports which can be undertaken by experts in their specific field, such as timber treatment and damp-proofing. The reports are generally undertaken free of charge as part of a firm's quote for the repair work, however, if a problem such as damp is identified it may be worth paying an independent specialist to come and take a look.

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