We will guide you through the process of necessary checks before and during a property sale or purchase showing due diligence at every step of the way.
Buying a house is considered one of the most expensive and stressful times of our lives. As a result it can be tempting to cut corners, or hope for the best. However, we have found that more and more people are turning to professionals from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors to provide a report that can be used not only as a guide for whether the property being bought is a sound investment, but also as a tool for negotiating on the purchase price.
Why is a survey important?
For most people, buying their home is their largest single investment and most important purchase. Thus, it is vital to know of any pitfalls or problems likely to arise which could be expensive to remedy. You may get a copy of an inspection report carried out for your mortgage: don’t forget this is just a valuation for the lender, it is not a survey to protect you!
If the inspection carried out for my mortgage lender is only a valuation, what sort of survey do I need?
In general terms a RICS Building Survey is generally recommended for old, large houses. The RICS HomeBuyer report is appropriate for most family homes from 1980, and a Major Defects Survey can be carried out on those in-between.
Building Survey - Level 3
The most detailed type of report available which is particularly suitable for one-off properties including large, extended or older buildings. The report includes full details of all visible elements of the building, information regarding the method of construction and items of disrepair and defects with advice about key future repairs. The report is tailored to the needs of the client and also includes a market valuation and a reinstatement cost for insurance purposes. A discussion with the surveyor at the time of instructing is recommended.
Major Defects Survey - Level 2/3
Similar to the Building Survey but without the photographs which keeps the cost down. It is much more informative and helpful than a HomeBuyer’s Report, but more concise than a full Building Survey. Particularly suitable for small Victorian and 1930’s style housing, it is our most popular survey type. Older versions of it have been adopted by many other Bristol surveyors. It can also include a market valuation and reinstatement cost for insurance purposes.
RICS HomeBuyer Report - Level 2
A concise economy service suitable for post 1970 properties in good order and modern homes. It includes comment on all visible sections of the property including condition ratings to elements of the building using a traffic light system to flag if:
serious/urgent repairs are needed
whether investigations are advised
components can be readily cared for under normal maintenance.
Advice is given in respect of the value of the property and the reinstatement cost for insurance purposes is also included.
Depending on the type of property you are purchasing, we can advise you on which report is most appropriate. As a general guide, property built since 1975 without known structural movement is usually surveyed using the Homebuyer Report format, whilst property older than 1880 should be surveyed using the Building Survey format. Property built in the period in-between can often be reported on using either format depending upon the level of detail required in the report, but we would recommend our most popular report, the Major Defects Survey.
If you wish to discuss the report with us after reading it, we are happy to explain matters in further detail. Many of our clients find this a useful and refreshing approach which helps put items in context.