Whether you are buying your first house or are just about to jump on the moving bandwagon again, one of the things that will need to be sorted once you have found your property is organising a survey. But, what does a survey cover and how much do you need to budget to get the lowdown on your next home? Here is what you need to know.
RICS condition report
The cheapest and most basic of all the survey reports, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) condition report offers an all over description of the property, identifies any risky conditions, possible legal issues and any urgent defects. It is most suitable for new-build and conventional houses that are in good condition, but it doesn’t provide any advice or valuation. This sort of report costs approximately £250.
If you have a bit more budget, and can spend up to £400, your next option is a HomeBuyer Report, which is a survey suitable for conventional properties in reasonably good nick. A HomeBuyer Report is provided by RICS approved surveyors and can help you find out if there are any structural problems, such as subsidence or damp, as well as any other issues inside and outside the property, but not under floorboards or behind walls.
The best thing about this report is it can include a property valuation, which gives you bargaining power. If, after you have received your report back, you find you need a new roof and it will cost you around £15,000 to fix, you are well within your rights to renegotiate the asking price.
Building or full structural survey
This is the most comprehensive survey and is suitable for all types of residential properties. This report is extremely detailed and although it also doesn’t look under floors and behind walls, you do get the surveyor’s opinion on the potential for hidden defects and really good advice on how to deal with potential repairs.
Typically, this sort of report costs upwards of £600. If you really want to know what you are letting yourself in for with works that need doing, this is the report to go for.
RICS Building Survey
The RICS building survey offers the same level of detail as you get in a full building survey but is simpler to understand and has a 1,2,3 rating system to ensure you can easily spot the most serious issues that will need solving. It also includes advice on defects, repairs and maintenance options.
This is a great report if you are buying a large or older property or if you are planning on doing extensive work to the house. The report costs around £500 and offers terrific value – especially if you don’t know as much as you would like to about building work.
A snagging survey is an independent inspection to look for any issues with new build properties. Starting from £300, depending on the size of the property, this report highlights faults that the developer needs to fix before you move in.
Mortgage valuation survey
The aim of the mortgage valuation is really to inform the lender that the property you are hoping to buy is worth the amount that is being lent for it, before the mortgage is approved. This report is just a valuation and doesn’t point out repairs or structural problems that you will have to pay to fix.
The cost of the survey is based on the value and size of the property and is typically £150 to £1,500 and the prospective buyer usually has to pay for it. It is worth checking with your mortgage lender though as sometimes lenders offer free valuation surveys with the mortgage package. It is also worth noting that if the property is valued below your offer price, you can go back to the seller or the estate agent, and negotiate a lower price based on the findings of the lender’s valuation.
Money spent on a decent survey can really help to open your eyes about how much your dream home will really cost you. And it will stop nasty surprises coming back to bite you. Our advice would be to find a surveyor near you and do your homework first.
If you are looking for a Surveyor you may find some of these links useful: