Buying or selling a property is something that should NEVER be taken lightly. It’s a huge investment especially for first-time buyers that messing it up is not an option. If you do, the consequences may be irreversible and most often than not, very expensive.
Both surprisingly and alarmingly, 25% of buyers seem to think that mortgage valuations are enough. To make things even worse, these people had to deal with unplanned repairs during their first year. How much? An average of over £1,100.
For the benefit of all the buyers, a mortgage valuation report is NOT a structural survey. It’s something that’s commissioned by the lender and paid for by you and is simply about confirming the value of the property.
Building Survey vs HomeBuyer Report
When choosing chartered surveyors, always check if they’re registered with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). It is the world’s leading professional body for qualifications and standards in land, property and construction.
Both a HomeBuyer Report and a Building Survey are conducted by a RICS qualified surveyor. The main difference between the two is that the latter is a lot more comprehensive. It gives you a highly detailed review of the condition of the property.
It all boils down to you to choose which of the two property inspections to go with. That is regardless if you’re a buyer or a seller. However, the guidelines below should help you figure out what you need.
You are likely to need a building survey if:
- The property is unusually built or run-down.
- It has been significantly altered.
- You’re planning a significant conversion or renovation.
On the other hand, a HomeBuyer Report is the better option if:
- The property is more of a conventional design like houses, bungalows, or flats.
- It is constructed using standard building materials.
- It is in a reasonable condition based on your judgement.
If the house that you’re buying is a listed building, don’t think twice. Go with a building survey.
Benefits of a Building Survey
Back to the question at hand. Do you need one?
The quick answer is YES.
A building survey is a health inspection of property carried out by a chartered surveyor. This report includes everything you need to know about the property’s exact and current structural condition. Without this survey, you’re taking a gamble which can lead you into a very bad situation.
Benefits to the buyer
You keep yourself safe from hidden issues the property might have. Once these problems appear after the sale is completed, rectifying them can be a nightmare and extremely expensive. Some of the issues that a survey can discover are:
- Dry rot
- Lack of insulation
- Breach of building regulations
You put yourself in a better position as a buyer. The potential cost of repairs varies greatly from a few hundreds to tens of thousands of pounds. You can ask the owner for a discount that’s equivalent to the cost of the repairs.
At the very least, you can also request for the owner to take care of all the repair work before completing the sale. That’s if bargaining is not an option.
You can live in your new house with peace of mind. A building survey is worth every money that you pay for. It’s very reassuring in a sense that you know that the place you’ll be living in for the foreseeable future is in an excellent condition.
They are particularly beneficial for older and listed properties. The structural integrity of older properties can be questionable most of the time. Still, some people take pride in owning and living in one.
Another thing to note is that a listed property is considered exceptional since it’s a national heritage. Getting a chartered surveyor who has specialized knowledge about these types of structures is a must.
Due to their nature, a building survey can help you find out all the possible defects these aged-old buildings have. Do note, that listed buildings can’t be repaired the same way as non-listed ones. They’re always more expensive and need to follow specific regulations.
Benefits to the seller
It increases the value of your property. Getting a building survey done to your house gives you enough time to fix all the ‘imperfections’ it has. The best time to do it is before you even put your property out on the market.
Tip: DIY repairs are your best friends. Hiring a contractor is a good idea and saves you time by doing it yourself. But if you want to save more, consider doing it yourself except jobs that only professionals can do.
You put yourself in a better position as the seller. Just as building surveys can help buyers negotiate for a lower price, you can have the same benefit as the seller. However, you’re only given this privilege if you make sure to it that all aspects of the house are in their best condition.
Ultimately, this gives buyers lesser reasons to bargain for the price giving you more chances instead, of getting the most decent offers.
You avoid repercussions from a bad survey. The good news when it comes to these surveys is that there’s no pass or fail. However, a ‘bad report’ is as real as it can be. Some of the things that can happen if you get a bad report are as follows:
- The buyer might pull out of the deal.
- It’s more likely for the buyer to ask for a lower price.
- You can end up in prison if the sale falls through and the issues become apparent not long after. The only way to avoid this is to disclose all the information from the report. Should the buyer decide to push through while being fully aware of the issues, then you’re on the safe side.
Here are a few other things that you can do to avoid a bad survey report.
- This has been mentioned before but again, make sure that you fix all the issues both inside and outside of the property.
- A surveyor will most likely think that your house as a whole is not in good condition if he arrives and things are a mess. So tidy up.
- Protect your belongings. A building survey is more extensive and intrusive than a HomeBuyer Survey which means that they’ll need to have access to more parts of the house. Keep delicate items on shelves and make sure that they don’t unnecessarily bump into furniture.
To summarise everything, a building survey is necessary and of equal importance regardless if you’re a buyer or a seller. Both require caution, understanding, and careful planning. After all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.