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A HomeBuyer Report carried out by a local RICS Chartered Surveyor will uncover any property defects and provides an independent property valuation.
Your HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey may also enable you to renegotiate the home purchase price.
A Property Valuation is similar to the Mortgage Valuation carried out on behalf of a lender. Typically this report is chosen by cash purchasers, but this property survey is useful for anyone seeking a formal property valuation,e.g. during a matrimonial dispute, or probate.
A RICS HomeBuyer Report is a clearly laid out and detailed survey on the condition and value of your prospective home. It is the most popular survey for anyone buying a home in England and Wales and UK as it will uncover any defects in the property could cost you £1000's to rectify.
Previously known as a Full Structural Survey in England and Wales
The Building Survey is the most comprehensive survey and is typically chosen for older or substantially modified properties. It is particularly useful if you plan to renovate or convert the property. It does not include a valuation, unless specifically requested.
A common misconception is that the 'Mortgage Valuation Survey' is sufficiently detailed to inform Home Buyers about the structural integrity of their prospective purchase.
The Mortgage Valuation Survey is actually commissioned by the lender (albeit paid for by the buyer!) to ascertain whether the property is adequate security for the loan. It is, by no means, a substantive report and should not be relied upon by a buyer for the purposes of being satisfied as to the structural soundness of the property*.
Your choice of survey will depend on a number of criteria and the information contained in RICS Survey will depend on the type of survey you choose to go for. In either case, the surveyor will identify all significant defects or factors that will materially affect the value of your new home. These can then be addressed before completing the negotiations on the agreed purchase price and before exchanging contracts.
In either case, the Surveyor’s main objective in providing the report is to assist the prospective homebuyer to make a reasoned and informed judgement on whether or not to proceed with the purchase, assess whether or not the property is a reasonable purchase at the agreed price and enables the homebuyer to be clear what decisions and actions should be taken before contracts are exchanged. (For detailed information see: Survey Comparison Table.)
A Property Valuation Report is similar to the Mortgage Valuation. Typically this report is chosen by cash purchasers, but this Property Survey is useful for anyone seeking a formal property valuation,e.g. during a matrimonial dispute, or probate.
For properties of standard construction (brick and tile) which are less than 100 years old and which have not been substantially altered - a RICS HomeBuyer Report is generally advised. This format was introduced relatively recently in reponse to criticism that Surveys were overly complicated and difficult to read. As a result, the HomeBuyer Report is set out in concise terms and uses an intuitive traffic light system to indicate the condition of the property. This survey is relatively inexpensive, is by far the mast common choice of home buyers and also includes a valuation.
For older properties which have been extended, altered etc., a structural or full Building Survey is advised. The Building Survey is the most comprehensive type of report. The service is a tailor made report covering all the visible parts, including the roof voids of the property.
Property Surveys should be carried out early in the legal process. Some buyers prefer to get a cheap survey prior to making an offer. Tip: Getting a Building Survey post offer could enable you to negotiate a price reduction once the legal work is underway. Either way, the survey should be carried out before exchange of contracts, i.e. once you have legally committed yourself to the purchase.
Unfortunately, the seller might pull out at any stage before exchange of contracts so you do run the risk of paying for a survey which you may not need, but you have little choice but to carry out a survey prior to exchange.
The Home Survey Report will reveal defects within the property wherever possible and will comment on matters such as the condition of the walls, flooring, windows and roof and whether the property has been altered.
It will also comment on whether there is asbestos in the property or damp and rot. Once the report has been obtained it should be passed to your Solicitor who will then review it. It is important to write to the seller’s Solicitor early on to tell them of any defects so matters can rectified and remedied as quickly as possible. For example, the electrics at the property may need to be tested by a qualified electrician, dampness may need to be dealt with or roof tiles may need to be replaced.
Any agreements to deal with problems highlighted in the Building Survey must be recorded in writing so the parties are fully aware of what has and has not been agreed. Often, buyers will approach the estate agent to discuss these matters and negotiate through them. This may be suitable for the purposes of commencing negotiations, but it always better to deal with such matters through your solicitor.
The buyer’s Solicitor should obtain written confirmation from the seller’s Solicitor that any works to the property or any inspections (for damp, electrical wiring, asbestos, etc.) will be carried out before completion and evidence of the works or the relevant test certificates should be supplied before completion. Some solicitors insist on special conditions in the contract to cover these matters. If works are to be carried out then the buyer may be able to negotiate a reduction on the purchase price or an ‘allowance’.
The buyer may wish to inspect the property after the works have been carried out, before completion takes place. They can arrange to do this through the agents or their Solicitor. It is a good idea to do this as it means that if the works have not been undertaken to a satisfactory standard, there is still time, before completion, to perfect them. It is therefore advisable to allow additional time before exchange or between exchange and completion for the works and inspections to be carried out by the seller and his agents.
Basements or cellars typically found in Victorian or earlier home (especially in London) are at a high risk of having or developing damp problems. Issues including signs of dampness in the cellar, moisture stains along walls or floor, and a musty odour or damp smell which will be identified by your Surveyor during the Home Buyers Survey. The Report will deatil the probable or actual cause/s of the damp, which may include for example:
Although less common than Victorian property, the UK has a large stock of Regency and Georgian homes, particularly in areas lie Bath, York and London. Architecture of this style is generally regarded as offering superior and beautiful accommodation with excellent room proportions, high ceilings, large windows and bright, well proportioned rooms, mock balconies, and tiled roofs.
However as with all period property, old fashioned building methods (e.g. no DPC, poor drainage) and materials coupled with the deterioration over time means costly problems can await the unwary. Many of these properties have been renovated but all too often, behind those beautiful facades (often maintained to listed building standards) distract buyers from major internal issues that are often highlighted during the survey