When it comes to buying a new property, being practical and sensible about your choice is easier said than done. Once you’ve truly fallen in love with a place, it’s easy to ignore the damp on the wall or the odd sounds coming from the boiler but it is these issues that can end up costing you thousands of pounds to repair. When you buy a property, you need to know everything about it, including any potential problems it has and in order to do that you will require the help of a surveyor.
Surveyors are trained to properly inspect properties so they can not only determine whether it’s worth the amount you will be paying for it but also identify any problems that could end up costing you a lot of money to repair. However the information you will get from your property survey will depend on the type of survey you go for. Below we have outlined the three main types of property survey and how to pick the right one for your new home.
Mortgage valuations are designed to check that the property is worth the price you are paying for it. Most lenders will require you to get a mortgage valuation before they will approve your mortgage.
It is important to remember that a mortgage valuation is only a valuation of the property’s worth. It will not tell you if there are any structural problems or repairs that need to be made to the property.
Mortgage valuations vary in cost depending on the size and value of the property; however they are generally much lower in cost than other types of property surveys. Some lenders will offer mortgages with free valuations, though you are entitled to choose your own surveyor if you wish to.
If the property is valued lower than your offer price, you will have the opportunity to go back to the seller (or the estate agent representing them) and change your offer. Alternatively you can dispute the valuation (if you have reason to believe it is wrong) by providing evidence of similar properties in the area that have recently been sold for a higher price.
Homebuyer’s surveys are designed to uncover any problems on the inside or outside of a property. They are fairly detailed (looking for things like damp and subsidence) however they do not offer as much detail and advice as the structural survey (outlined below).
Homebuyer’s reports typically cost around £400 – £500 and some will also include a property valuation.
If you are looking to have a comprehensive survey carried out on a new property, it is likely that you will need to go for a structural survey. These are usually carried out on older properties and tend to be the most expensive of all property surveys. Unlike the other surveys mentioned, structural surveys look under the floorboards and behind the walls to provide extensive advice on the repairs that need to be made.
Although structural surveys are expensive, they could end up saving you money in the long run. If building surveyors find a number of things wrong with the structure of the property, you can either go back to the seller to see if they will lower the price or you can retract your offer and look for a property in a better condition.
Which one do you need?
The type of property survey you choose should really depend on the age of the property you are looking to buy and its condition. If it is a new property that is still covered by warranty, you can get away with just going for a valuation survey, however if the property is older a homebuyer’s report or structural survey is recommended, especially if it appears to need a lot of work.
Choosing a surveyor
As the homebuyer, you have the right to choose your own surveyor to carry out the required report. Of course, part of your decision will be based on cost and availability; however it is also important to consider their experience and credibility. Choose a chartered surveyor to carry out your property survey and have the peace of mind that it will be carried out to the highest standards.