Michael Hardy Blog, News & Updates

A Guide To Property Surveys

22 August, 2017 by

You’ve finally found the one and you’ve fallen in love with a house. What’s even better is that your offer has been accepted, so now begins the purchasing process. To ensure that the property you want is in tip-top condition and that you are right to pay the cost you have offered for it, it’s recommended that you carry out a property survey. 

What is a property survey?

A property survey involves appointing a Chartered Surveyor to come and inspect the property you intend to buy. They’ll take a look around the property, as detailed below, and identify any issues which you might not have spotted yourself but that could end up being costly in the long-run.

Only 20 percent of home-buyers get a professional property survey completed, as many people feel it is an added expense and can delay the conveyancing process. However, if a serious problem is identified then the survey allows both you and the seller to reach an understanding about how to proceed.

That might mean asking for the problem to be rectified before the purchase completes, reducing the amount you pay for the property to take into account any work which needs to be done, or in the most serious cases it might mean pulling out of the purchase altogether. There are different types of surveys available: 

Mortgage valuation

If you are taking out a mortgage, you will have a mortgage valuation done. It’s important to note that this is not the same as a property survey. A mortgage valuation is where your lender sends someone to view your proposed purchase and decide if they agree that the house is worth the money that you are going to pay for it.

Although you will find out if the house is worth the money, you won’t have any hidden issues or potentially costly faults identified - this is more of a cursory look through the property. Banks charge you to carry out the mortgage valuation, although they will organise it themselves. The charge can be anything from £200 - £1,000 and frustratingly there is no room to negotiate – you need to pay whatever your lender says it costs and it is compulsory to have the mortgage valuation completed. 

HomeBuyer’s Report 

This is the most popular type of property survey and it’s one you would organise yourself, hiring a Chartered Surveyor to inspect the house you want to buy. Of the property surveys you can do, this is the more basic but it still gives you a wealth of important information. During the survey, which generally takes around two hours to complete, the Surveyor will look at numerous aspects of your new home. This includes the brickwork, the roof, the guttering and drainage systems and the electrical and gas supplies.

If they are RICS-accredited, the Surveyor will follow a template and provide you with a report which will show a traffic light system with everything looked at given a score of either red, amber or green. Red indicates problems which need to be addressed immediately and could be game-changers for your purchase, amber are issues which you might wish to look into further and green indicates there is no problem. The cost of a HomeBuyer’s Report will vary according to the price of the property you are buying but you can expect to pay between £200 - £900. Surveyors generally get the report back to you within one to two weeks. 

Building Survey 

A Building Survey is the most thorough report you can get and is worth considering if you are buying a very expensive property, or if the property is old or in poor condition. You’ll pay more for a Building Survey with costs from £500 - £1,300 but you will get more back for your money.

The Building Survey will provide you with a comprehensive analysis of the structure and condition of the property with the Surveyor taking a very hands-on approach, looking under floorboards and in the attic, for example. This hopefully means that not a single problem is missed. The detailed approach means that a Building Survey can take a day to complete and the report can take a few weeks to come back to you. 

Do I need a survey? 

A survey offers a prospective buyer peace of mind, which many people feel is invaluable and well-worth the cost of the survey itself. Buying a house is likely to be the most expensive thing you will purchase in your life so you want to be sure your money is going towards a property that’s worth it – and won’t end up costing you huge amounts in the future.

Don’t forget, at Michael Hardy we can advise you further on your options for property surveys depending on your purchase. Talk to us today to find out more.