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FAQs about Home and House Surveys

Modern House - Home Buyer Survey

Q. Why do I need a survey?

RICS research shows that more than 85% of house buyers do not have a survey as such. Many buyers will rely on their mortgage company's valuation. The mortgage valuation is a very brief inspection, routinely taking the valuer no more than 20 - 30 minutes. Whilst the valuer will be looking for defects such as movement, dampness or wood boring insect infestation, the brevity of the inspection means that the extent of any problems may not be fully established. This is particularly the case with the valuer's inspection of the roof space, where the valuer is required to carry out no more than a "head and shoulders" inspection of the roof.

Damp Stained Purlin

In the United Kingdom, for most people, their home is their biggest investment of their lifetime. With property values being many times higher than the average salary, it makes sense to research the true condition of the purchase before becoming committed to purchasing a property. I accept that the survey fee is another expense, but surely if there is a problem with a home, it is better to find out the true condition of the home before you become committed. This will leave you the option of renegotiating the purchase price or, if the work required is not acceptable to you, you can withdraw from the purchase.

If the survey shows that the property that you want to buy has no problems, then you will at least have the peace of mind of knowing that the property is in good condition.

New detached house

Q. I'm buying a new home. Should I have a survey?

Nearly all new homes in the UK come with some form of Builder's warranty, whether this is the common NHBC warranty or Zurich's insurance policy or an Architect's certificate. Nevertheless, these are warrantys, not guarantees as to the building's condition. Builders do make mistakes, fortunately not very often, but like every human being mistakes are made. If you feel that you would like the reassurance that mistakes have not been made or that the Builder knows what they are doing, then, yes you should have a survey.

Q. I've just agreed to buy a house. I feel that I should have a survey. What are my options?

I always advise Clients on an individual basis, depending on their requirements and expectations. However, there are two types of survey that I can offer: the Building Survey and the RICS Homebuyer Report. It will depend on the depth of information that you require and the type of property that you intend to purchase as to which survey you should have.