Property Survey – What Is It, Commissioning One & The Costs

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With a mortgage agreed upon, you’ll likely want to start thinking about commissioning a survey on the property you intend on purchasing.

It is neither a legal nor an obligatory requirement, but we recommend getting one carried out.

A property survey will assess the condition of a property, to highlight any major problems before contracts are exchanged.

A mortgage valuation and a property survey are not the same!

The mortgage valuation is strictly for the benefit of the lender, to provide them reassurance that the property you’re purchasing is worth the amount they’re lending you, before final approval for your mortgage.

If buying a property, we suggest a survey being conducted as a must. Enabling you to have a detailed idea surrounding your potential purchase.

You’ll have three options for a survey to pick from, ranging from simple, to comprehensive.

Home Condition Report (Level 1 Property Survey)

The cheapest, most cost-effective property survey option provides an overview of the property’s condition, and the risks it could contain.

Being the cheapest option, it’s the least thorough option and doesn’t include a valuation.

As a surface-level survey, it only highlights obvious defects. Developed by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), designed as an entry-level option for buyers to be made aware of significant issues before committing to their purchase.

An approximate cost of this service is in the region of £400 based on a £300,000 property. Depending on the value of your property, will vary the cost you should expect to pay.

HomeBuyer Report (Level 2 Property Survey)

The most common type of property survey available is suitable for many different property types, however, is best suited for properties less than 50 years old.

This type of RICS property survey will help reveal and highlight important factors regarding the condition of the property you’re planning to purchase.

Enabling you to use this information to renegotiate the offer to cover these costs, or even to have a plausible reason to pull out of the sale altogether.

Suitable for most types of property, from flats to a house.

Ideal for properties that are fairly modern, built less than 50 years ago, in good general condition, with no obvious signs of damage, and with no renovation work done recently.

The approximate cost of a HomeBuyer Report is around £500 for properties up to £300,000. Again, this will vary, expect to pay more or less, if the property’s value is more or less

Building Survey Report (Level 3 Property Survey)

One of the most comprehensive property surveys you can have when buying a property.

This level 3 property survey is best suited to older, or unusually constructed buildings, as the report generated is much more thorough to accommodate these aspects.

A building survey will outline most defects in the property, as well as diagnose the root causes, and estimate the urgency at which repairs need carrying out. As well as this, costs to repair will be given.

Being the most comprehensive option available, the surveyor will go further to examine areas that are generally hard to reach.

Included is a thorough internal and external inspection of the property, with a survey report provided upon completion of the findings.

You can expect a building survey looking at:

  • Check for defects that could potentially be serious
  • Scan property for hazardous materials such as asbestos
  • Examine the property for any signs of damp within the walls
  • Highlight any structural work done without permission
  • Find out what material the property is made from
  • Check for any damage to the roof or structural timbers
  • Assess any threatening trees near the property
  • Recommend solutions for any areas of concerns

A property valuation isn’t generally included, but can usually be requested at additional cost.

The average cost of this most comprehensive survey in 2022 was £800. You can expect the cost to vary from £600+ for properties valued up to £100.000, to over £1000 if your property is valued over £500,000. Just as with level 1, and 2 reports, the cost of the survey varies depending on the value of the home.

The Potential HORRORS Of Not Having A Property Survey Done

The list is endless, but to the untrained eye, there is plenty to go wrong. It is usually best to get a professional arranged to carry out these checks, otherwise, you could be left with huge repair bills right after your recent property purchase…

Internally:

  • Woodworm and dry rot – Damaged floorboards bring risks of a failing structure, woodworm and rot is not able to be seen by the naked eye to untrained individuals.
  • Dampness and condensation – This could bring huge costs, as it could point to a failure of the damp-proof course or leaks in the structure of the building resulting in this type of subsidence.
  • Ceilings – Cracks could indicate a shift in structure, unsecured flooring above, and even slow water leaks, all resulting in major damage.
  • Walls and floors – Similar aspects and issues to ceilings as shown above.
  • Chimney breasts and joinery – This could indicate a shift in structure, resulting in a failure to be safe and to be stood on its own without the risk of falling apart.

Externally:

  • Roof space: Full inspection of the roof – Roofing replacement costs are incredibly expensive, any type of leak or infestation can be very costly and time-consuming.
  • Chimneys – Damage to the chimney could mean further issues underlying not being able to be seen, it could indicate further structural issues again.
  • Gutters – Damaged gutters will lead to rainwater leaking into the property, causing leaks, dampness, and further damage to the property’s existing fittings.
  • Main walls – Again, to determine whether the property is structurally sound, or if there has been a shift in its structure.
  • Windows and doors – The cost to replace a full set of doors and windows in a property is in excess of £3000, depending on how big, and how many windows and doors there are.
  • Drainage and boundaries – Inspection of the property drainage and boundaries will help eliminate the risk of taking on a property with issues of drainage and risk of flooding, as well as potential disputes of boundaries and the space you actually own.

Other:

  • Garages – Checks of the structural integrity, resistance to the weather etc.
  • Conservatories – Again, checks of the structural integrity, resistance to the weather etc.
  • Tenure – The type of ownership the property has, whether it has any restrictive covenants etc.
  • Services – Such as access to electricity, water, gas mains, sewage etc.

The importance of a property survey is one of the highest priorities you should have if you’re planning to make a property purchase. No matter whether the purchase is for personal, or investment use, it will be invaluable to have a report such as this to give you peace of mind in the £XXX,000 assets you’re buying…

The last thing you’ll want is thousands of £ of repair bills landing at your feet shortly after completing the sale.

We have property experts on hand that specialise in buy-to-let properties. If you are purchasing a property to rent out on a long-term investment, get in touch with one of our experts to discuss how you can receive and maintain the best return on investment possible!

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