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Different Types Of Property Survey Explained

  27 Jan 2017

The main point of the survey to provide detailed information about the condition of a property, and ideally, a survey would include:

  • Information relating to any major structural issues or problems
  • Any major repair work that needs taken care of
  • A detailed analysis of the property

A survey should be carried out by a qualified surveyor with the majority of qualified surveyors being a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, RICS. These professionals hold professional indemnity insurance, making them the natural choice to carry out the work. There is no set cost for survey work because the cost can depend on property size, property location and the individual costs of a firm.

Surveys offer peace of mind and are essential when buying older or unique properties, such as listed properties or properties with a thatched roof. If you have bought a lot of properties in the past and you are buying a relatively new home, you may find that a survey isn’t required but for many buyers, surveys provide fantastic peace of mind. However, if you obtain a survey and it details major issues, it can be of tremendous value. This information can help you negotiate a more affordable price for the property or it can allow you to walk away from the deal without having committed yourself to buying a questionable property.

Mortgage valuations

When you are looking at the different types of surveys, you will see mortgage valuations listed, but these technically aren’t surveys. This is a very simple look to judge the relative value of the property, with the aim of ensuring the property will provide enough security for the loan received. This is entirely for the benefit of the lender but it is the property buyer that is required to pay for it, although some lenders will provide assistance towards the cost of this service.

Condition Report

The Condition Report is the most basic standard of survey you can obtain, and it doesn’t provide a lot of information or insight into a property. The most notable aspect of a Condition Report is that it provides a “traffic light” review of the property, but it doesn’t offer a valuation or any advice on what work needs to be undertaken.

HomeBuyers Report

The HomeBuyers Report is more detailed and it provides information on serious issues such as subsidence or rot. This report will also offer a valuation and the “insurance reinstatement value” of the property. While this is an improvement of the Condition Report, it isn’t an intrusive report, which means that it won’t look into the property in any great detail. The HomeBuyers Report also comes with statements and caveats to take responsibility away from the surveyor, which means that they are sometimes pointless if a claim is made against the contents of the report.

Building Survey

This is the most expensive style of survey but it contains the most information, which is often exactly what a buyer is looking for. Anyone buying an old, listed or unique property will find that a Building Survey is an essential purchase. Also, anyone looking to carry out extensive building works at the property will find that a Building Survey is a sensible investment.

The report offers guidance on repairs and it will detail the estimated costs and timings of any work being undertaken. This survey is by far the most relevant and informative report, but its usefulness will depend on the nature of the property and the experience of the buyer.


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