Considerations when buying your home

Buying your home is most likely going to be the biggest outlay you are ever going to make, so being fully aware of the properties condition is crucial. A survey of the property prior to purchase will help identify any work that may need to be carried out to the property before you buy it. A survey is basically a health check on a property and helps to ensure that the amount you’re paying is fair and correct based on the condition it’s in. It can also put you in a position to negotiate with the seller before you proceed with the purchase particularly if any issues arise from the inspection.

The type of survey you will require will be based on the details of the property and its age. You should ensure that your surveyor is a member of a recognised governing body such as the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) or Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor, we are more than happy to put you in touch with a company that can review this for you.

As a buyer there are three main types of survey to choose from:

Basic Survey

This type of survey describes the condition of the property, identifies any risks and potential legal issues and highlights any urgent defects. It’s most suitable for new-build and conventional homes in good condition; no advice or valuation is provided in this survey. A Condition Report is a very basic ‘traffic light’ survey.

Home Buyer Survey

A home buyer survey reports on defects in the property, its condition, and actionable repairs. They are designed to cover all aspects of the property, however this is an abbreviated version of the full buildings survey. The Home Buyer Report doesn’t look beyond the floorboards or behind the walls. This type of survey report is generally suitable for more modern type property built after 1950’s.

Full Building Survey

This type of survey provides a more detailed report than the home buyer survey. It is recommended for older properties and those in need of work, or simply for peace of mind. These types of survey aim to provide the most comprehensive feedback and advice. The surveyor will look at the complete property and give a detailed information regarding the state of every single aspect of the building. It is particularly suitable for; older properties, properties which have had major alterations over time or presents an unusual structure, properties which have a thatched roof or timber frame, those which are listed, or properties which appear to have problems that require further investigation.

To sum up, having a survey is not a legal requirement when buying a property however it could prove invaluable even though it can feel like an unnecessary expense, it could actually save you money not to mention a lot of stress particularly if it uncovers an issue with the structure of the property.

It is important to note that if you are buying a new-build home, you should get a 10-year warranty from the builder which largely negates the need for a home-buyer’s survey although a snagging survey can prove helpful in identifying any issues.

Bear in mind that, if you are buying with a mortgage, the lender will carry out a basic valuation which is completed primarily to identify the value of the property and make sure that the property is suitable for a mortgage with the lender that you are applying with.

The FCA does not regulate Surveyors