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Property Surveying Blog
Written by Beau Davies

What is a House Survey?

Generally speaking, if you are purchasing a property, you will want to ensure that it is inspected and assessed before the sale, so that you can ensure that you are purchasing a property that is not only a sound investment in the long-term, but is also free from defect.

One of the biggest concerns to home purchasers, is that when they purchase the property, they can find themselves having to cover the costs of repairs, making good, and other defects that they were not aware of beforehand.

A survey undertaken in advance of the sale will ensure that these types of situations are avoided, as a qualified and experienced surveyor will visit the property, carry out a thorough inspection, and then report back to the buyer informing them of all of the issues they have located.  They will also give the buyer an idea of the likely cost of the repair, meaning that the buyer can then proceed to discuss with the seller as to whether the price reflects the repairs needed.

So, what are the types of homebuyer surveys that exist?

Mortgage Valuation

The most basic type of pre-purchase survey a homebuyer can undertake is a Mortgage Valuation.

Generally speaking, the buyer’s lender will require that these are undertaken pre-purchase, as they will ultimately ensure that the bank’s loan is protected in the event that the buyer was the default on monthly mortgage payments.

It is worth noting that a Mortgage Valuation will often not include any type of specialist survey, and in many cases may not even involve the surveyor entering a property.

It is therefore advisable that while a Mortgage Valuation survey is a good idea to ensure that the property is valued at the correct level, a more thorough inspection should always be undertaken so that the buyer can be fully informed.


RICS Homebuyer Report

An RICS Homebuyer Report is considered a medium-type survey, and is undertaken by a qualified and experienced surveyor, who is also a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).  The surveyor will inspect all elements of the property, both internally and externally to ensure that no stone is left unturned.

The surveyor will report back all of his findings to the buyer in an easy-to-follow and understand traffic light system.  The traffic light system has been designed to help buyers understand what type of classification defect that the surveyor noted is given.

A condition rating of three, which is red in classification, are those defects that are considered serious and need urgent repair or replacement.

A condition rating of two, or amber, are those defects that need repairing or replacement, however are not considered to be of serious defect or overly urgent.

Condition rating one, green, is considered to be in good order with no repair needed, however, normal maintenance must be undertaken in the normal manner.

The benefit of the Homebuyer Report is that it will also include a valuation, whereby the surveyor will undertake comparable research looking at similar properties that have sold in the immediate vicinity, and then giving the buyer a full understanding of not only the defects within the property, but also whether the sale price they are paying reflects that of the market.


Full Building Survey

A Full Building Survey is considered to be the most thorough pre-purchase survey that a homebuyer can undertake.  The report itself covers all of the same areas that the RICS Homebuyer Report does, the only difference being that the surveyor will go into a lot more detail on the defects that he does find.

The surveyor will also usually cost all of the defects that are noted, so that the buyer is not only fully aware of what needs to be done to rectify a defect, but also the cost to undertake the necessary repair.

Here at Berry Lodge Surveyors, we understand that buying property is a significant step and a large financial investment.  We are therefore of the firm belief that any buyer should be fully aware of the property they are purchasing to ensure that they are best informed on the property, its defects and also the price.

If you are planning on purchasing a property and believe a pre-purchase survey or Homebuyer Survey may be of benefit to you, give our experienced and qualified team of surveyors a call now and we will be happy to assist you.