A home is the most expensive purchase most people ever make. As an owner you will benefit from expert advice on the condition of your property – whether you plan to live in it, rent it out or sell it. It’s not a legal requirement to have a property survey but getting one could both save you money and stress.
In simple terms a property survey is a health check on a property. If it reveals any problems, it puts you in a strong position to ask the seller to fix them before you proceed with a purchase. Alternatively you may choose to renegotiate the final sale price to account for the cost of fixing the issues yourself. If you are buying a new build home this should typically come with a NHBC National House Building Council 10 year guarantee, however you may still want to get a snagging survey done which checks the property for defects and poor finishing such as poor guttering or bad paintwork.
What kind of property survey should I get?
There are three types of property survey.
The Condition Report
A condition report is the most basic kind of survey and therefore the cheapest. It will typically take around one to two hours to complete where they do the following:
- check the basic conditioning of the building services such as the gas and water supply
- check the garage and other outbuildings
- use a simple traffic light system to flag any problems the need attention
Fees are normally based on the purchase proce and start between £250 and £300. A Condition Report os suitable for newer properties and homes that are in a generally good state of repair.
The Homebuyer Report
A Homebuyer Report is a middle ground report that is more extensive than the Condition Report. It typically costs more and is the the only one of the three surveys that offers a property valuation. It typically takes one to two hours to inspect and another hour to compete the valuation.
It also includes advice on defects that may affect the value of the property with repairs, and ongoing maintenance advice.
The Building Survey
A Building Survey (formerly called a Structural Survey) is the most comprehensive of the the three and the most expensive. It can take several days to complete (depending on the property) and up to a fortnight to return the survey.
The Building Survey will include all the features of a Homebuyer Report plus the following:
- thorough inspection and report on a variety of issues
- summary of defects and potential problems caused by hidden flaws
- advice on repair options
Costs vary widely according to the value of the property but typically start at £750. A Building Survey is suitable for large, unusual, old, listed or dilapidated homes.