Home Buyers SurveyWhen you buy a house, you need a survey, possibly more than one. The type of survey you need depends on the age and location of your dream home.

Why do I Need Another Survey?

Sounds like a fair question. You’ve already had to have a basic survey done by your mortgage provider, which you paid for – maybe up to £300 – so what good is another survey going to be? First of all, you need to acquaint yourself with the different types of survey, and what they involve.

  1. Basic Valuation – this is the quick look that someone from your mortgage lender will provide, just to be sure that the property you want to buy is worth the money you want to borrow. The valuation is based on similar properties and doesn’t look too hard at any potential problems.
  2. Homebuyer’s Report – far more detailed, including an expert look at the structure of the property, and advice on any work that may need to be carried out either now, or at some time in the future. It costs £250 – £500, but potentially it could save you thousands of pounds in the future.
  3. Building Survey (formerly known as ‘Structural Survey’ – this is the serious one, reflected in the cost, which can be up to £1,000. It is recommended for any property over 75 years old, or one that is of unconventional structure, such as a timber frame of a thatched roof. Don’t be put off by the length and detail, it is very thorough, and it does err on the side of worst case scenarios. The surveyor will provide you with a detailed list of any structural repairs that need attention, but again, they tend to quote on the upper end of the price scale, so take it as a guide, and be ready to negotiate with the firms who quote for the work.

How do I Get a Surveyor?

Always start with your mortgage lender who will have a list of people they use regularly, but don’t take the first name they give you. Get plenty of quotes from Yellow Pages, and check the Internet for surveying firms in your area. Make sure that you know what type of survey you are getting for your money. Remember, some firms specialise in particular types of surveys – older or newer properties, rural areas, flats and apartments, and so on, so choose the right one for your property.

Is it Worth it?

Absolutely. Remember, with an untrained eye, you may be able to see guttering falling off roofs and chipped brickwork, but you need an expert to tell you that the entire roof has about two years left before it will need to be replaced, so you’ll know that the tiles, and not your bank balance, are going to be ripped off somewhere down the line. When balanced against the cost of your property, and the peace of mind you will have when you proceed to buy, the fees involved in all these surveys, even the top-line ones, represent a fractional outlay, and could save you thousands of pounds and a load of trouble in the time to come. Remember, any serious problems discovered in your survey give you strong grounds for re-negotiating the asking price. Don’t be afraid to advise the owner of the jobs that are going to need attention, and that you expect this to be reflected in the asking price of the property.

Have I Missed Anything?

Again, depending on the type, age and location of your property, you may want to consider checking for underground mine workings, tree roots, damp courses, structural damage, and so on. There are specialist surveyors for this type of work, but always discuss things with your mortgage lender before you embark on surveys which you may not actually need.

It all Sounds Pretty Daunting!

It can do when you look at the worst possible situations, but if you take each step one at a time, and make sure you have proper qualified professional advice at each stage, then your fees will be well spent, and you can look forward to enjoying your new home without worrying if it’s going to collapse around you in five years time!