If you’re buying a property, you’ve probably been told that you need to arrange a house survey before you exchange contracts and complete. But how do you do it and which type of survey do you need?
Here we’ll run through everything you need to know about house surveys.
WHO ORGANISES A HOUSE SURVEY WHEN BUYING A HOUSE?
If you’re buying a house, it’s up to you as the buyer to organise the house survey. Unless you live in Scotland where it’s the responsibility of the seller to provide a home buyer’s report which should have been in place before the property went on the market.
You’ll need to arrange for a surveyor to run the survey on your behalf. But first, you need to decide on the right kind of house survey for your needs.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HOUSE SURVEYS
When it comes to arranging a house survey, you have a few different options to choose from. Let’s have a look at them in detail.
This is actually now called an RICS Home Survey Level 1. RICS is the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and is the professional body that covers surveyors in the UK.
As part of the condition report, the surveyor will identify the condition of the property, services and grounds through a traffic light system. Red will need your attention immediately and green won’t, with amber something to keep an eye on. It will include a summary of the risks but doesn’t include any advice or a valuation.
According to RICS, this is the most frequently requested house survey in the UK. It is now called an RICS Home Survey Level 2 and covers everything you get in a condition report, but also focuses on the loft and cellar too.
Alongside the traffic light system, the surveyor will advise you on potential repairs that are required and the budget needed to complete these. They will also provide details on any ongoing and future maintenance that will be needed.
You can choose to have this report with or without a property valuation. If you choose to have it with a valuation, you’ll get a market value, an insurance reinstatement figure (how much the insurance company would pay out if the property needed to be rebuilt should it burn down) and the list of issues the surveyor feels may affect the value of the property.
A building survey is also known as a full structural survey and is officially called an RICS Home Survey Level 3.
It is the most comprehensive survey available and looks at the entire structure of the property. Alongside everything you get in a Level 2 survey, it will also focus on:
Risks and causes of potential or hidden defects in areas not inspected
Any appropriate remedial work and the likely consequences of non-repair
Any recommendations about the priority and timescales for necessary repairs
HOW MUCH IS A HOUSE SURVEY?
The cost of a house survey will obviously depend on the type of survey you choose and your chosen surveyor. Average costs are as follows:
Condition survey: Between £300 and £900
Homebuyers survey: Between £400 and £1000
Building survey: Between £700 and £1500
HOW LONG DO HOUSE SURVEYS TAKE?
On average, a condition report will take around an hour whilst a homebuyer's survey can take up to four hours depending on the property. Full building surveys can sometimes take an entire day to complete.
WHAT IS A MORTGAGE SURVEY?
A mortgage survey isn’t the same as a house survey. It is done by the mortgage lender and is a cursory survey focusing on how much the property is worth. Mortgage lenders want to be sure that the property is worth the amount a buyer has agreed to pay for it and that it is sufficient security for the loan.
DO I NEED TO GET A HOUSE SURVEY?
It isn’t a legal requirement to get a house survey, but it makes sense as a homebuyer to get one. This is especially the case if you’re buying a house that’s over 50 years old and that may have a few things you’re potentially worried about. It’s especially important if you’re buying a listed building too.
When you’re buying an older property, a house survey can help you understand the issues that can potentially affect the value and what you may have to spend to rectify these. As it is done once you’ve had your offer accepted, you may be able to use some of the findings in the survey as a bargaining chip to renegotiate a lower offer.
WHEN TO DO A HOUSE SURVEY?
Once you have had your offer accepted, you should book your house survey. This gives you plenty of time to have a detailed look through it and ensure it is still a property you want to buy and decide whether or not you want to renegotiate with the vendor.
WHAT ABOUT NEW BUILDS?
So, do you need a house survey when buying a new build? Obviously new build homes are exactly that, new. This means that you won’t need the same level of survey as if you’re buying an older property. Many people still opt for a condition survey for peace of mind or go for a snagging survey that spots minor issues that need to be rectified. These typically cost around £300 - £600.
When you buy one of our new build homes and you’re moved in, our site manager will visit you on two separate occasions to run through any potential snags and make sure these are remedied for you.
At Wain Homes, we’re on hand to help you through every stage of the home buying process. Get in touch with us today todiscover our brand-new homes located across the UK.
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