Why you should never buy a property without a pre-purchase survey
18th February 2017
Categories Pre-Purchase Survey
Buying a property is likely to be the biggest purchase we make in our lifetimes and as this, it is vital to make sure that the property you are committing to is sound in every possible way. The consequences of not having a survey could be huge not just in financial terms but also in stress and time.
In this blog post we highlight the importance of a pre-purchase survey, what it entails and how to arrange one.
What is a pre-purchase survey?
There are a number of pre-purchase surveys available, some you are probably aware of and others that are a bit more specialist, the most common pre-purchase surveys are:
- Pre-sale survey – Compliant with the EU Directive and HM Government Housing Act 2004.
A pre-sale survey is usually carried out on behalf of the vendor before the property is put on the market. This survey is designed to point out any areas that may need work in order to improve the chances of the property selling for the best price.
- Mortgage Valuation Report.
These are not actually proper surveys, they are reports that are produced by an RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) Valuation Surveyor appointed by the mortgage provider to establish if the property is adequately secure in order for the money to be borrowed. This is typically not an in-depth report and is usually created after a quick browse around the property. The Valuation Surveyor will be looking for obvious signs of damage, subsistence and damp, as examples. It is important to regard this as a report and not a proper survey, you should still have a full Buildings Survey produced before signing on the dotted line.
- Home Condition Report.
This report is carried out by a fully qualified Residential Property Surveyor and provides a comprehensive report into the condition of the property. This survey is designed to highlight any major defects that may influence the decision to purchase.
- Homebuyer Survey.
This survey is approved by the RICS and will also include a valuation of the property being inspected. This survey covers all aspects of the building, but is less comprehensive than a Buildings Survey, the report produced is also likely to be shorter and more concise than a full Buildings Survey. The survey will specify any major defects the property may have and includes a roof inspection where possible. It is important to note that this report will not detail any remedial work that may need doing to the property and that these surveys are more suitable for properties that have been built during the last 80 years or so and are ideally no larger than 2,000 square feet.
- Building survey. (Formally known as a full Structural Survey)
This is without doubt the most detailed survey and is usually carried out when a full assessment of a property in needed. It is absolutely vital to have a full Building Survey done if the property is old (Pre 1900’s) large or unusual, for example a converted mill or castle. A full Buildings Survey can take several hours to complete and will cover every aspect of the property in much greater depth than the Homebuyers Report, this report will also detail in full any remedial works.
There are a whole host of other surveys that can be carried out prior to buying a property, many can be tailored to specific requirements and will ensure that you can buy a property with complete confidence.