Why you should have a survey before committing to buy

Your house purchase is probably the largest investment you will ever make. It goes without saying that you should look before you buy, and ensuring you have commissioned a full survey of the property before you commit is crucial.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Home Survey is the gold standard, and whether you are expecting to live in the property you are purchasing or rent it out, a survey is essential.

Do your homework

If you are using a mortgage to purchase the property, your lender will carry out their own valuation of the property. Unless you have done your homework, it could scupper your hopes of proceeding with the transaction.

The whole purchasing process involves conveyancing fees, and these can be found online at sites such as https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/news/conveyancing/conveyancing-costs-explained-3366.

Surveys can be undertaken at different levels. A Home Condition Report is the cheaper option and will identify urgent defects and some legal issues related to the property. If the property is a recent build, this could be appropriate.

A full building survey

The recommended option is a Home Buyer Report. This is more detailed and can be a survey or survey and valuation. The latter features the condition report but also a valuation and the insurance costs of a rebuild, which will be relevant when you come to insure the property you are purchasing. It will also cover ongoing maintenance. This is normally advisable if the building is up to 150 years old.

A full building survey may be appropriate depending on the age of the property you are buying. It should reveal any potential issues with the building. In addition, if the building in question has been subjected to major alterations, a full building survey is recommended regardless of its age. This will cover any treatment that is required for timber, damp issues and an assessment of electrics and drainage. This may or may not include a valuation figure.

By having a survey to hand, you may be able to negotiate the asking price of the property before lodging an offer. It is essential to understand the potential cost of any repairs that may be needed. If you go ahead with the purchase, at least you will have a good idea of what costs lie ahead.