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Buying House Survey

Jun 12, 2023

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In the run up to the purchase of a property, you will want to ensure that you have left no stone unturned and have taken a proactive and informed approach to the potential property purchase.

Eventually, the checks that you undertake will include discussions with agents, solicitor instruction and review, mortgage lender approvals and potentially even discussions with architects in respect of any planned works. 

One of the most typical oversights that property purchasers can make is to proceed without some form of specialist survey undertaken by a building surveyor.

Almost all properties irrespective of when they were built or the type of properties they are, are going to have some form of inherent defect or issue.

These defects and issues carry with them financial outlay and cost both in the short and long run.

Ultimately, should you proceed with the property purchase, you are going to be the person who becomes liable for meeting the cost and expense of the making good associated with the property defects.

While the vast majority of cases will have defects that are towards the lower end of the spectrum and relatively easy to manage and make good, there can be a vast number of properties out there which hold much more serious and significant defects.

These serious and significant defects bringing with them significant financial outlay.

A couple of examples of these types of more severe defects and issues are as follows:

  • Property subsidence (movement)
  • Damp (rising or penetrating)
  • Pests (rodent and timber infestation)
  • Invasive plants (predominantly Japanese Knotweed)
  • Spalling brickwork (evident to the facades of the property)
  • Defective roofs (usually at the end of their life cycle)
  • Ruptured drains (usually a result of tree roots or movement)

All of these issues are going to bring with them significant financial outlay and cost.  There is also going to be an extended period of remedy and making good that the property purchaser will have to go through. 

This will naturally include contractors on site, further investigation, potentially invasive instruction.  All of which are going to significantly add cost and nuisance to the process of rectifying those defects noted.

In an effort to combat this problem, the pre-purchase survey was born.  

There are two different types of pre-purchase survey on the market that give property buyers and purchasers the all important information they need on the forthcoming sale. 

We are now going to take a closer look at these to help you fully understand the different types of survey available on the market and hopefully helping you make an informed pre-purchase survey or homebuyer survey decision. 

RICS Homebuyer Report

The first type of survey that a property purchaser can instruct a surveyor to undertake is an RICS Homebuyer Report

The survey that will ensure that a qualified RICS building surveyor completes inspection and assessment of the property. 

The inspection will focus on the main areas of the property both internally and externally.

Furthermore, the inspection will require the RICS building surveyor to condition rate the various different defects that they locate.

These condition ratings being on an easy to follow and understand traffic light system.

When defects and issues are noted, the building surveyor will then give reasoned advice and recommendation as to how that problem can be overcome and importantly made good.

The aim is for the property purchaser to have a fully informed position on whether they then want to proceed with the purchase of the property. 

Within the property sector, an RICS Homebuyer Report is considered to be a Level 2 survey.

However, this is not to say that it is not a robust and comprehensive survey.  Simply that there is a more comprehensive one on the market. 

Full Building Survey

A full Building Survey is much like an RICS Homebuyer Report.

It will require an RICS qualified building surveyor to undertake it.  It will require the surveyor to inspect all parts of the property, internally and externally.

It will also include the handy and easy to follow traffic light condition rating system. 

However, unlike an RICS Homebuyer Report, a full Building Survey is going to go into a significant amount of more detail when a defect is indeed noted by the inspecting surveyor.

The surveyor will put forward comprehensive cost analysis of what it will take to rectify the problem at hand. 

It could even go as far to put forward some recommendations for rectification and remedy. 

A full Building Survey is considered to be the most comprehensive and detailed survey that a property purchaser can instruct a surveyor to undertake.

Full building surveys are also commonly referred to as full structural surveys by the general public. 

Here at Stokemont, in an effort to stand out from the crowd and outdo our competitors, we are very proud to offer an industry first cost rating traffic light system.

This forms part of all of our pre-purchase surveys, both RICS Homebuyer Reports and full Building Surveys.

The cost rating system will cost rate each and every defect that the surveyor inspects. 

We have a handy and easy to follow low to high cost rating system that we adopt, therefore giving our clients as much information on the property and importantly the cost of remedial work.

We have found that this places our clients in the most well informed position that they can be in the run up to the property purchase.

You can read a little bit more about our cost rating system on either our RICS Homebuyer Report, or Building Survey web pages.

If you have got a property you are in the process of purchasing, please feel free to get in touch with us and give us a call today.  Our RICS building surveyors will be more than happy to assist and advise you in your forthcoming property purchase. 

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