Before buying a property, it’s a good idea to get a professional to carry out an inspection. Their inspection can tell you if there are any:
- problems with the property’s structure
- repairs or alterations that need to be made
- risks associated with the property
A property survey is different to the ‘valuation’ carried out by your mortgage lender…
A property survey is different to the mortgage valuation report (or ‘valuation’) carried out by your mortgage lender. A valuation checks the value of the property and whether it’s suitable for a mortgage. It isn’t a detailed inspection of the property’s condition.
The three different types of property survey are shown below.
The one you choose depends on the amount of information and advice you need. Some detailed surveys may include a valuation.
Formerly called a structural survey, this type of survey provides more detail than any of the other surveys. It’s recommended for older, unusual or altered properties and those in need of work, or if you have any doubts about the property’s condition. It doesn’t usually include a valuation, but the surveyor may include this as an additional service.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has more information about the different surveys and how to choose the right one for you.
If your property survey uncovers any of these problems, you can consider things like whether or not you want to:
- buy the property
- negotiate a new price with the seller
- ask the seller to fix the problems before you buy
There’s also benefit in getting a survey before you sell, to alert you to any issues that might affect the sale of the property.
RICS Condition Report…
This is the most basic, least expensive survey available. It’s best suited to conventional properties and newer homes that seem to be in reasonable condition and are built from common building materials.
It reports on the condition of the property only, flags up matters for your legal advisors and gives a summary of problems that need attention. It doesn’t include advice or a valuation.
It’s also ideal for sellers.
The cost of a survey
The cost of a survey depends on the type of survey you want. It also depends on factors like the type, size and value of the property you’re buying or selling.
Make sure that the person carrying out the survey is qualified to do so.
A property survey should be carried out by a qualified surveyor. A qualified surveyor is someone who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). They will have the letters MRICS, FRICS or AssocRICS after their name.
All RICS surveyors are regulated and professional indemnity insurance is compulsory.
RICS HomeBuyer Report
This survey is suitable for the same property types as a condition report. It involves a more extensive visual inspection and goes into more detail. It also includes extra information, like a valuation, insurance rebuild costs and advice on repairs and maintenance.