Property Surveys can be another complex topic to consider when buying a property. Once you’ve found a property that you’re interested in purchasing and you have your financial arrangements in place, we would recommend that you instruct a surveyor to undertake a survey on the property.
There are three main types of property survey:
1. Mortgage Valuation Report
A Valuation Report is carried out on behalf of a mortgage lender when they are assessing whether a property is suitable for them to lend the mortgage against. This type of property survey is usually very basic and often consists of just one or two pages of confirmed information about the property, such as the type of property, number of bedrooms, and insurance rebuild figure. It is designed to be purely an assessment of value and condition from a lending perspective.
As a mortgage valuation report is carried out purely on behalf of a Mortgage Lender, it cannot be relied upon by a Purchaser. Therefore, if you proceed with a purchase on the basis of having had a Valuation Report only, and a defect in the property is later discovered after you have exchanged or completed your purchase, you will have no recourse against the Seller and/or the Mortgage Valuer.
However, if you have had your own personal property survey carried out, should any defects be discovered then it will enable you to obtain quotations for the cost of any repairs, and will give you the opportunity to re-negotiate the purchase price should you wish to do so. Therefore, it is important that you have the result of the survey before you instruct the exchange of contracts to take place, as this is the point at which you are legally committed to continue with your purchase.
2. Homebuyer’s Survey
A Home Buyer’s survey is the most common middle of the road type of survey and is designed for properties that are generally no more than 100 years old, which are of conventional construction and in reasonable condition. The report focuses on significant and urgent matters, such as:
Property’s general condition
The value of the property on the open market
Comments on matters such as whether there have been treatments such as damp proofing, insulation, timber treatment etc. carried out previously at the property
Testing of walls for signs dampness
Highlighting any apparent defects in the property, which may affect value
Urgent matters that need assessing prior to the exchange of contracts.
3. Full Building Survey
This is the most in-depth type of survey and is essential for larger or older or more unusual properties such as listed buildings, timber framed, or thatched properties, or if you’re planning major works. This comprehensive report provides you with an in-depth analysis of the property’s condition and includes advice on defects, repairs and maintenance options including those set out in the list above (although a comment on the value of the property may have to specifically requested with this type of survey).