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Buying a house will probably be the biggest financial commitment you will ever make, so the last thing you will want to be doing is forking out on unplanned repairs and maintenance after you’ve moved in. Unfortunately, when viewing a property, you’re unlikely to spot any serious problems, so won’t know about them until after you’ve moved in and they’re causing you issues.
This is one of the reasons a survey must be done on any property you are considering buying, but with so many different types of surveys, which one should you choose?
RICS Condition Report
This report is most suitable for new-build, or conventional houses which are in good condition. Although a basic survey, it describes the property’s condition and identifies any risks, urgent defects and potential legal issues that your solicitor needs to investigate such as checking planning permission is on place for an extension. The cost of this report is around £350.
RICS Homebuyer Report
Suitable for conventional homes in reasonable condition but offers more detailed information on the property. It looks at the condition of the building and services and takes a couple of hours. It can uncover structural problems such as damp and subsidence. This report uses the traffic light system: Green=No work needed, Yellow=Repairs needed but not serious and Red=Defects that need to be investigated urgently.
The surveyor will write down any problems that could affect the value of the property and advise you on the repairs or maintenance that should be investigated further.
If the repairs are going to cost a lot, it’s a reasonable request to ask for the cost of the repairs to be knocked off the asking price.
The cost of these reports starts at around £400
Building or Full Structural Survey
If you are buying an older property, one that has been altered or you are planning on doing large alterations on, or is an unusual home, then this is the survey to go for. It gives you detailed information as the surveyor spends several hours examining the building and the land. It will describe both visible defects as well as the potential issues caused by hidden defects. Th report will give advice on repairs, what will happen if nothing is done, and advice for your solicitor. Most surveyors will tell you it’s very rare they do a full building survey without uncovering something. As this report is very detailed most surveyors are happy to discuss the report with you over the phone.
This type of survey typically costs upwards of £600.
Mortgage Valuation Survey
This is done to satisfy the lender that the property you want to buy is worth the price you’re paying. It is just a valuation and will not identify and structural problems or repairs. The cost of this report is based on the size and value of the property. There are some lenders who offer mortgages with free valuation surveys.
The money spent on a good survey can prevent you from expensive surprises once you’ve moved in. So always choose a survey based on the condition of the property rather than the cost of the survey.
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