Surveys & Valuations

Homebuyer Surveys

A common question is “why do I need a survey when the mortgage company is already doing one”? The fundamental difference is that they are doing a valuation to ensure that the funds they lend you are secure. It is not a comprehensive survey on the condition of the property and it is not primarily for your benefit. It is always advisable for you to have your own survey when buying a home so that you know precisely what you are buying.

Incredibly only about 20% of purchasers have a survey! Yet we rarely survey a building that has no defects. It is very often the case that the report highlights defects which are sufficient to negotiate a discount, very often more than offsetting the survey cost.

Homebuyer Survey & Valuation (HSV) – Now Called the RICS Homebuyer Report (HBR)

This is the briefer of the two reports, quoted by the RICS as, “giving factual information on significant aspects of the condition of the property, usually a home, to the prospective purchaser.” The Homebuyer survey identifies defects which we consider urgent or of significant importance and likely to affect the value of the property. It also provides a market valuation and rebuilding insurance valuation. This survey is completed by qualified building surveyors who are members of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The Homebuyer survey involves inspection of the whole property, which includes:

  • Roof Coverings
  • Drainage
  • Roof Structure
  • Internal Walls, Floors And Partitions
  • External Walls
  • Internal Joinery
  • Guttering
  • Kitchen Fittings
  • Damp Proof Course
  • Sanitary Appliances
  • Sub-Floor Ventilation
  • General Decorative Condition
  • Windows, Doors & External Joinery

Visible defects would be identified, such as the presence of dry-rot, rising damp, woodworm, cracks in the structure etc. The testing of services is not covered, but usually a report on its visible condition is given. If required the survey can incorporate an energy survey and testing of services at additional cost.

Building Surveys

These used to be called Structural Surveys, which is misleading because they cover much more than just the structure, and they are now referred to as Building Surveys. These surveys are carried out by Associate and Chartered surveyors. All surveyors are accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and experts in their field.

They are a much more detailed survey than the Homebuyer Survey and we will advise on the structural stability of the building, with particular reference to trees nearby and whether they pose a threat, together with recommendations for remedial works. It will give a detailed description of the construction and inherent defects which may occur over a longer period of time. It will also offer long-term maintenance advice. A valuation is not normally provided, but can be if requested.

We carry out both the Homebuyer survey and Building surveys for clients and recommend that the type and the age of the property is most likely to dictate which is most suitable. Call or email for advice if you are unsure. Please note that the prices quoted are for properties of standard construction.

Open Market Valuation

A valuation would usually be carried out by the mortgage lender for their own purposes and will be arranged by them, If however, you require an independent valuation for probate, transfer of ownership etc. we can carry out a private valuation.