So you’re going to buy a house, excitement fills the air, you know you need a survey but which one do you choose? When you start making enquiries about the mortgage you should be advised to have a survey done so that you know the state of the house you’re about to buy.
But which one? You will need a mortgage valuation survey, with a typical cost of several hundred pounds. But, despite it’s name, this isn’t a survey; it’s information for the lender to determine whether or not they’ll get their money back when lending against the property.
Which survey to choose?
You could ask for a Homebuyer’s Survey – a chartered surveyor will produce a report on the state of the house and whether major faults need further investigation, for example, serious structural cracks may need a report from a structural engineer.
Or you could commission a Home Condition Survey. This is an excellent product with every key item condition rated, either 1,2 or 3, so that you can see at a glance where the key issues are. The report also highlights issues for your solicitor to consider – there could be an extension without planning permission or an undefined boundary. Health and safety issues will also be considered – when were the electrics last tested? Polystyrene tiles on the ceiling of a kitchen are a fire risk and as such a health and safety risk too.
All the elements considered in a Homebuyers survey are also covered in the Home Condition Survey – the state of the roof inside and out, the walls, floors, ceilings, drains, grounds and services are all reported on. The final report is illustrated with photographs and you can also have a brief discussion of the report with the surveyor. It’s not surprising that this type of survey is recommended by Which.
If you’re buying a property, you should always have a survey done before you enter into a contract. Any offer you make should be subject to survey.