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Property Purchase Surveys

May 12, 2022

In today’s property surveying blogpost topic, we are going to be taking a look at prepurchase surveys.

If you are in the process of purchasing a property, whether it be a house or a flat, one of the most important parts of the prepurchase procedures is to have an RICS surveyor undertake a RICS HomeBuyer Report or Full Building Survey.

The outcome of the report will be a comprehensive and thorough review of the property that is being purchased, so you are in an informed position on all of the defects and issues that exist within the property.

The surveyor who undertakes the report will take a methodical look at the property, both internally and outside, checking all aspects of it to ensure they are fully abreast of all issues.

Once the surveyor has accommodated themselves to all issues, they will then present these to you in a easy to read and simple to follow surveyor’s report.

As previously discussed, there are two types of prepurchase surveys on the market.  We are now going to be taking a short look at these in greater detail, so you are fully informed.

RICS HomeBuyer Report

This is considered to be a midlevel prepurchase survey.  The report itself will see a surveyor go through the property and condition rating the various different issues that exist. 

The condition ratings follow an easy to understand traffic light system:

Condition Rating One (Green)

A condition rating of one or green rating is the best possible outcome the surveyor can find. 

It effectively means the item being inspected is in good order and no further maintenance or repair provisions are required. 

So long at the item is maintained in the normal way, with a well-considered maintenance plan in place, it is considered to be in good order and the best possible outcome a property purchase can hope to find.

Condition Rating Two (Amber/Orange)

Condition rating two means the item being inspected is in need of repair and/or maintenance. 

Importantly, this is not considered to be urgent, however, will require some considered maintenance in the not so distant future. 

Amber/orange condition ratings are relatively common and, if you are in a position whereby these do arise within the report we would advise carefully discussing these with the prepurchase surveyor, so you are fully abreast of exactly what they mean and what can be done to best address them.

Condition Rating Three (Red)

A condition rating three/red reading is the worst possible outcome on the condition rating scale. 

It effectively means the item being inspected is in need of serious, urgent or considerably expensive repair. 

This repair should not be delayed and is something and is something the buyer will need to take into account in purchasing the property. 

What this means is that item being inspected is going to have to be actioned sooner rather than later and, furthermore, the purchaser should take into account they are likely going to need to bear the burden of the costs. 

If a condition rating three/red is noted in your report, we would advise discussions are had with the seller at the earliest opportunity to ensure the property price is adjusted to take account of the defect noted.

In almost all circumstances, a RICS HomeBuyer report is considered to be thorough and detailed enough to provide clients with all information they need on the property purchase.

Full Building Survey

Much like the RICS HomeBuyer Report, a Building Survey will use the same condition rating system. 

However, the report will go into more detail when issues are noted.

These details will likely extend not only to what needs to be done to remedy and rectify a defect, but will also give some firm input and indications as to costs in respect of making good. 

The report is also likely to come with some recommendations that a HomeBuyer Report would not contain, giving the purchaser as much information as possible, so they are fully informed without reservation on the defect being discussed.

We often get asked whether a purchaser should proceed with a RICS HomeBuyer Report or a full building survey. 

Here at Stokemont, our take on it is, if you are planning on undertaking works to the property, renovations, upgrades or additional rooms, then the reality is many of the issues/defects noted through a prepurchase survey will naturally be remedied and made good through that process as, effectively, vast sections of the property are going to be removed, cut away, or demolished.  In this instance we would tend to advise a RICS HomeBuyer Report will be sufficient.

However, if you are planning on purchasing a property and do not have any planned works/maintenance in place, then a Full Building Survey will be a more sensible prepurchase investment. 

It will not only fully inform you, but will also ensure any defects noted are fully explained and costed.  You will therefore have a firm and full understanding of exactly what needs to be done to remedy and rectify.

Here at Stokemont, with all of our prepurchase surveys – both RICS HomeBuyer Report and Full Building Survey – we also include an industry first cost rating system, whereby costs in respect of repairs are rated much in the same way as the condition ratings themselves. 

Whilst cost ratings go from £1,000-£5,000 to £10,000+, the cost rating system will ensure you have a full and firm understanding of exactly what needs to be spend, in order to bring the property up to liveable and defect-free condition. 

Furthermore, it will also give you fantastic ammunition and informed advice so you can then approach the seller and ensure you are indeed paying a fair arm’s length and reasonable price for the property.If you would like to discuss your prepurchase survey requirements with our team of experienced and qualified RICS Surveyors, feel free to give us a call today and we shall be more than happy to assist and advise

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