How to choose the best house survey

Building surveys; best house survey

What’s the best house survey type for your potential new home? A full building survey, a homebuyer’s report, or something else? We outline the choices available for every type of home.

Do you know what type of house survey the home you want to buy needs? Whether you’re buying a home for the first time, or the tenth time, it’s important to know the condition of the property. This condition could affect it’s value, leave you with repair work and costs – or even stop your purchase entirely.

We asked our RICS surveyors to give you some tips and advice on choosing the best house survey.

IS A VALUATION THE SAME AS A SURVEY?

In a word, no. If you’re buying a property with a mortgage, your lender will ask for a valuation – which you’ll generally pay for yourself. The valuation forms part of the bank or building society’s consideration of whether to lend you the money to buy the house.

The valuation only tells the lender if the property is reasonably secure for the loan and does not tell you anything about its condition. Therefore, for most purchases you will also need a survey.

Home condition reports are best for a conventional modern house, flat or bungalow constructed from common materials and in reasonable condition and are offered by members of RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). It’ll rate the condition via a traffic light system, and show up issues that need attention. This is the most basic survey, the cheapest and one we do not carry out here at Chawton Hill.

HomeBuyer reports – again offered by RICS members but not Chawton Hill and also suitable for a conventional modern house, flat or bungalow, or if you’re buying an older property in reasonable condition, constructed from common materials. However, you’ll get a more extensive inspection, and extras such as a list of problems that could affect value, advice on repairs and maintenance and details of issues that need to be investigated.

Top Tip – if you opt for a HomeBuyer report that includes a valuation as well as a condition report, make sure that your surveyor’s valuation will be accepted by the mortgage lender, or you’ll end up paying for another mortgage valuation by a surveyor who is on the lender’s panel.

Full building surveys are best for large, old, run-down, or unusual properties, and are also suitable if you’re planning to carry out some extension/building work at your new home. This is the most expensive survey, but will give you the most detailed information on structure and fabric. RICS members offer these high-level surveys and it is the only survey type we carry out at Chawton Hill.

WHAT IF YOU’RE BUYING A NEW-BUILD HOUSE?

A new-build home should offer the NHBC’s Buildmark, a two-year builder warranty backed by the NHBC, then an eight-year insurance policy for damage to the home caused by a failure to build to the body’s requirements. However, if you wanted, you could have a snagging survey that identifies smaller problems as well as issues that could affect the structure. You could then ask the developer to remedy these before you move in.

WHAT ABOUT A FLAT ?

A survey for a flat needs as much consideration as that for a house. If the flat is in a modern, conventionally built block in good condition a HomeBuyer report could be sufficient. However, if the flat is in a large, old building or a listed building, a building survey could prove money well spent.

WHO CAN CARRY OUT A SURVEY?

A survey should be carried out by a qualified RICS surveyor.

CAN I USE THE SURVEY TO NEGOTIATE THE PROPERTY PRICE?

Many of our customers have used our prioritised issue list that includes an estimate for the cost of rectifying the issue to discuss the property price with the seller. There’s no guarantee they will reduce the price but having the information, from an independent source can also help you budget for future repairs.

CAN I DISCUSS THE SURVEY WITH MY SURVEYOR?

We offer all our building survey customers a free walk-around service at the end of the survey. This gives you time at the property to discuss any issues the surveyor may have found. It is also a great time to go over any extension/building plans you may have, as all our surveyors are experts in the local building regulations and can refer you to our building projects team if required.


If you would like a Building Survey quote on your next property, please complete a Quick Quote form here https://www.chawtonhill.com/building-surveys/ and if you would like to read what other people think of our Building Survey service there are plenty of reviews on our Trustpilot page here https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/chawtonhill.com

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