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Residential Property Surveys

Rotten roof timbers

There are two types of survey that I can provide. These are the Building Survey and the RICS Homebuyer Report.

Building Surveys

In the past these have been called structural or full surveys. These are the most comprehensive reports that I produce and generally speaking will be used where the Clients are purchasing an old or larger than average home. The Building Survey will give the Clients an idea of how the property is put together, identify existing and potential problems and give the Clients advice as to what action is required next. This may be information about how a repair may be implemented or works of further investigation that are required. Additionally, longer term maintenance liabilities will be identified and again, advice will be given as to what course of action needs to be taken.

Cruck Framing

The Building Survey will give the Clients an in depth appraisal of the condition of the property, allowing them to make an informed decision as to the likely maintenance liabilities.

RICS Homebuyer Reports

This form of survey is designed for the more modern and smaller homes. When the RICS first introduced the more concise style of report in the 1980's, the survey was exclusively for smaller properties built after 1850. Whilst the strict age and size criteria have been relaxed, I believe that the original guidelines are still worth considering.

Dormer Roof

Under the RICS Homebuyer Report scheme, each element of the home is given a condition rating (1-3). There is less narrative as to how the property is put together and the report concentrates on significant problems and will give less advice as to the longer term maintenance issues. The report is more concise, but still gives the purchaser the reassurance as to the present condition of the property.

According to RICS statistics, more than 85% of people in the UK that purchase properties do not have a survey. This does not take into account purchasers that rely on their mortgage company's valuation, mistakenly believing that this will show up any problems with the property that they are intending to buy. The mortgage valuer makes a brief inspection of the building and for instance, makes no more than a "head & shoulders" inspection of the roof space.

1930s Bungalow

Therefore, there is an opportunity for the valuer to miss a defect that would be shown up on a more detailed inspection. The mortgage valuation will not give purchasers the peace of mind that they really should have. I accept that survey fees can be another expense that people believe that they can do without, but for most people in the UK, their home is their largest investment. Therefore, the cost of a survey must be worthwhile when you consider the heartache that can arise if your home is later found to require significant repair.