The Survey, an essential part of your Property Purchase

Purchasing a property is one of the largest investments that you will ever make and it is important that you have as much information about the condition of the property before you go ahead and purchase it.

Your conveyancer will recommend at the outset that you have a survey carried out as early as possible in the transaction.

There are different types of Survey available to a property purchaser:-

  • Valuation Report (Mortgage Company Valuation)
  • Homebuyers Report
  • Full Structural Survey

Valuation Report

If you are obtaining a mortgage your lender will instruct a qualified surveyor to carry out a valuation and condition report on their behalf to ensure that the amount they are lending to you will be secure against the property you are purchasing.  This report will also reveal any features or significant defects.  It is only usually two to three pages in length and only gives limited information.  It is not a detailed survey and will not usually tell you about any repairs or maintenance that may be necessary.

Homebuyers Report

This survey will give you more information about the property and will help you reach a more informed decision about the property and could save you money by revealing potential problems such as any structural problems or damp. Your surveyor can confirm if the price that you have offered is reasonable, comment on the local area and inform you of any issues with the property that you need to know about.

The Homebuyers Report will be carried out by a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) who is normally based locally to the property you are purchasing.  There is no substitute for extensive local knowledge, and you will be able to speak to your surveyor before the survey is carried out and raise any issues or questions that you would like more detail on

A homebuyers survey and valuation will tell you:-

  • Is purchase price reasonable
  • In what type of locality is the property situated
  • Are there any structural problems/issues with the building
  • The overall condition of each building element
  • The need for further specialist investigations
  • Relevant environmental factors, such as flooding, mining and Japanese Knotweed
  • Health & safety issues, such as fire escape and asbestos
  • Legal issues, such building regulations, planning permission and rights of way
  • The presence of any guarantees
  • Is the property affected by dampness, wood boring insect attack and timber decay
  • Other general information, such as type, age and construction.
  • Any other significant drawbacks you were not previously aware of

The RICS Homebuyers Survey is a detailed inspection of all accessible areas of the property and will usually include the roof space, sub-floor area, drains, gardens and outbuildings.  It will separate the report into district areas for construction, condition, advice as to remedial works required together with a condition rating.  The condition ratings are easy to read and are split into traffic lights colours

Condition Rating 1

No repair currently needed. The property must be maintained in the normal way.

Condition Rating 2

Defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be either serious or urgent. The property must be maintained in the normal way.

Condition Rating 3

Defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired or investigated urgently.

Gaddes Noble Property Lawyers strongly advise you to carry out a Homebuyers Survey at the outset.  We will ask you to send the full report to us to review on your behalf so that we can discuss any relevant points with you and recommend you for further reports where necessary.  We are always very interested to read the section ‘Issues for your Legal Advisors’ so that we can cross reference anything raised by your surveyor against our legal title check and the searches that we will have carried out on your behalf.

Full Structural Survey

This is the most comprehensive survey that you can obtain and it specifically analyses the structure and the condition of the property.  The survey will list any defects and required repairs.  The surveyor will inspect the loft space, roof and look underneath the floorboards.  We recommend that this type of survey is conducted if the property that you are purchasing is over 50 years old or if the property is in poor condition. If you have major concerns about the property you are purchasing or any potential structural defects, then this survey is invaluable and can allow you to plan in detail for any projected costs and timings.