Once your offer is accepted, it is really important to have a survey carried out on that property to assist you in understanding the condition of that building and to establish if there are any problems that need to be addressed – i.e. whether the property you are going to buy is a good investment without structural faults. You are also likely to need a valuation report from the mortgage lender:
- Valuation report – Mortgage providers usually insist on a valuation report before they will agree to lend you the money. This is to confirm that the property is sufficient security to cover the loan. If your home is still being built, the mortgage provider will carry out some checks on the builder and development. They will usually release the mortgage in stages, handing over the final money once the home is finished and can be valued.
There are three main types of survey, and it can be confusing to decide which type to choose. It predominantly depends on how much detail you require from the survey and the age of the building.
- The most basic of the three surveys and most suited to newer, more modern houses in a good condition.
- Typically costs £150-£300.
- Provides an overview of the property’s condition and focuses on things like the roof, walls, windows, floors and stairs.
- Highlights significant problems but does not go into detail, therefore further investigation will be needed.
- Provides the condition of each element in a clear ‘traffic lights’ ratings, identifying problems that need varying degrees of attention.
- It does not include a valuation or insurance reinstatement.
- The most popular of the three surveys and is suitable for modern properties as well as older properties that are deemed to be in a reasonable condition.
- Typically costs between £250-£600.
- Will include maintenance advice as well as necessary repairs that are needed.
- A useful report for issues such as cracks, damp or subsidence.
- Highlights any areas that do not meet building regulations.
- Non-intrusive report so will only look at parts of the property that are readily available - not behind walls, loft space or under floorboards.
- It is worthwhile paying extra for this report if there are some concerns you have about the property you are going to buy.
- This report is useful for older properties, rare or unusual properties, properties in a poor condition, properties in which you are planning significant work or for any major concerns you have with a property.
- Typically costs between £500 and £1,000.
- Provides a breakdown of the structure of a property and the condition.
- Provides detailed information on how the property has been constructed, the materials used, the condition of the foundations, roof and walls.
- Provides advice of the maintenance as well as necessary repairs are needed.
- A more intrusive report that will look at the loft/attic space as well as under the floorboards.
For new build properties, a survey is not likely to be needed, however, for peace of mind you can ask for a New-Build Snagging survey to be carried out. This will be carried out by an independent inspector and typically cost between £150-£200.
After deciding which type of survey is best for you always write to your surveyor to confirm your choice with details of the property and area. New homes often come with a guarantee such as Buildmark that insure against major defects resulting from the builder’s failure to carry out the guarantor’s requirements.
If your new home does not come with a warranty, or you’d like the peace of mind that a structural survey brings, you could decide to commission a homebuyer’s report. When buying a very expensive home, it may be worth your while to arrange for a full structural survey.
The cost and time to complete your survey will depend upon which type of survey you have commissioned, and the size, condition and location of your home. It is best to get two or three quotes from different surveyors in the area to assess market rate. You may also wish to speak to your estate agent about typical costs in the area.