Getting a Survey of your Home

You will, of course, have had a good look at your chosen property. However, serious building defects may not be obvious to the untutored eye. It therefore makes sense to ask a professional surveyor to inspect the property for you.

The cost of this report can be repaid many times by finding defects before completion of the purchase.

There are three types of report available to a purchaser.

The Mortgage Valuation Report

This valuation and report is organised by the lender. The primary purpose of it is to provide an opinion as to whether a property is suitable security for the money to be lent.

Whilst the valuer will, of course, take into account the general condition of the building, the valuation will be based on only a brief and superficial inspection of the property. On a pro-forma sheet, the space allocated for comment on the condition of the building is very limited. It must be remembered that the lender lends to a person who liable for the building, its condition and maintenance. Whilst the building is important, it is to some extent secondary for the lenderís purpose.

The Homebuyer Report and Valuation

This report is based on a format drawn up by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. It gives the prospective purchaser information on:

  • The general condition of the property.
  • Any urgent or significant factors likely to materially affect the value of the property.
  • The value of the property in the open market.
  • The value for insurance purposes.

This information is provided in a simple and straight forward layout, easy to read and understand. It is based on a visual inspection of as much of the interior and exterior of the building as is accessible with safety and without undue difficulty, including roof voids, roofs accessible with a 3m (10ft) ladder, outbuildings, site boundaries, etc,. and an overall opinion of the services (gas, eater, electricity and drainage) will be given.

This type of report is suitable for most twentieth century property, but structures which are unusual by virtue of design or construction and particularly large properties, may require a more detailed report and may not easily fall within the Home Buyer format.

The Building Survey (Often called a Structural Survey)

A Building Survey is an investigation into and assessment of the construction and condition of the building. It is based upon a detailed inspection, in as much depth as is possible, without damaging the building or its contents.

A Building Survey is essential when purchasing older or period buildings, those with unusual characteristics or of unusual construction. It is, however, equally suitable for traditional buildings.

The report includes a detailed description of the condition of each element of the property usually with advice as to what remedial work is required if any. Very often an indication of the cost is also included.

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Brian Holt
Crabb Curtis
ehB Residential
Godfrey Payton
Paul Twyneham & Co