Good Reasons to Use a Chartered Surveyor Before You Buy

Written by Posted On Thursday, 11 May 2017 02:37

Buying a house is one of the most expensive purchases you’ll ever make, and the last thing you want is to have to spend money on unexpected repairs. A study carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) revealed that new homeowners spent just under £6,000 on average on unforeseen repairs. Many buyers chose not to have a survey conducted by a chartered surveyor.

In this article, we look at why you should use a surveyor before you buy.

What exactly is a building survey?

A building survey is a detailed inspection of a property’s condition. The report details any structural problems with the property and if highlights any major repairs or alterations that are necessary, such as roof work, or the rewiring of the electrics.

Who conducts a building survey?

Building surveys are carried out by qualified Chartered Surveyors who should be members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). It’s a good idea to find a surveyor in your area as they’ll be familiar with the local housing stock and have a good knowledge of local property market values. If you’re buying a property in South Devon for instance, you might use Hammond and Shaw Surveyors.

Why do I need a survey?

Surveys are carried to ensure that the there are no problems with the property you’re buying. It helps you avoid any expensive repairs, whilst at the same time giving you peace of mind that the building is sound.

The information contained in a survey report could make you change your mind about buying the property, or help you renegotiate the price. You might even ask the seller to fix some of the issues contained in the report before you finalise the purchase price.

A survey should definitely be carried out if you’re considering buying a listed building, a property with a thatched roof, or a building with a timber frame. If you have some specific worries about, say, dampness or the electrics, or you feel unsure about the general condition of the property, then a building survey should put your mind at rest one way or the other.

What type of survey should be carried out?

There are four different types of building survey, and the specific survey you request will depend on the condition and age of the property and how much you are prepared to pay for the survey.

chartered surveyor 2

1. Condition Report

A Condition Report is the cheapest and most basic survey option. It’s designed to complement the mortgage valuation carried out by your lender and doesn’t go into much detail. The report offers ‘traffic light’ indicators regarding the condition of various parts of the building. A green indicator means good condition, orange means there’s some cause for concern, and red means some serious repairs are necessary. In addition, the report includes a summary of risks to the building.

2. HomeBuyers Report

The HomeBuyers Report is a more detailed survey that includes any obvious issues like damp, rot, subsidence, and so on. It also includes a building valuation and an insurance value – the amount that would be paid out if the building was destroyed by fire. The report is limited because the surveyor won’t lift any floor boards, climb up into roof spaces, drill any holes, etc. In addition, the surveyor will include many caveats and cautions in his report to cover himself in the event of problems arising at a future date.

3. Home Condition Survey

This type of survey report is offered by the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) rather than the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The survey is conducted by specialists in residential surveys, and includes mostly practical information such as damp assessment, boundary issues, broadband speed, and so on. Although these reports are independently checked to ensure quality and consistency, they are not nearly as detailed and thorough as a HomeBuyers Report.

4. Building Survey

A Building Survey is the most in-depth and costly of all the reports. Extensive survey work is carried out and a detailed report is presented. If you’re thinking of carrying out any major renovations or the building is old, listed, thatched or timber-framed, it’s best to have a Building Survey done. In performing this type of report, the surveyor will closely inspect the attic, check behind walls, look between floors and above ceilings, check the damp course, the roof and so on, and will sometimes employ the use of specialists to perform tests. The final report will detail what work needs to be done, the estimated timings as well as the estimated costs.

Rate this item
(0 votes)
Liam Houghton

Liam Houghton is a home inspection expert with 7 years of experience working with South East England Surveyors. 

Agent Resource

Limited time offer - 50% off - click here

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.