Building surveying and valuations frequently asked questions

Why do I need a survey?

A building survey is not a legal requirement and at a time when you maybe saving every penny you can to afford your new dream home, skipping the extra cost of having a survey may cross your mind.
But having a survey carried is essential to possibly save you large sums of money, from uncovering hidden issues with the property which could cost you now or in the future, this could allow you to use the information to negotiate a lower price of the property, prepare for repairs that will be needed straight away or in the future, or ultimately letting you walk away from a potential disaster.

What type of Survey do I need?

Each property is unique and thus the type of survey required.
Generally, for older properties (1900’s and beyond), unconventional buildings, or one which has received or is planned to be extensively renovated or extended, we recommend a RICS Home Survey – Level 3 (formally known as a structural survey).
For more recent properties, which are constructed in a more conventional way and in reasonable condition, we recommend an RICS Home Survey – Level 2 report.
If you are buying a new home using Help to Buy, HomeBuy Direct or similar shared equity scheme, we recommend an RICS mortgage valuation.

What problems can a survey uncover?

A surveyor’s report will nearly always uncover some issues, especially with older properties, Some of the most common issues include:
• Problems with the roof
• Central heating system
• Damp or timber issues
• Electrical installation issues
• Further complications which will require a structural engineer, such as subsidence.

What Is RICS?

RICS is a globally recognised professional body, which ensures RICS registered surveyors adhere to the highest professional standards set across the globe.

Do I need a mortgage valuation survey?

Mortgage brokers require a mortgage valuation to satisfy them that the property you desire is worth the price you’re paying or at least the amount it’s lending.
If the property is valued below your offer price, you can go back to the seller or estate agent and offer a lower price backed up by the mortgage valuation.

What is a HomeBuyer (RICS Home Survey – Level 2) report?

A HomeBuyer report also known as level 2 surveys is a survey and inspection of the easily accessible parts of the property, this includes things such as ceilings, the roof, walls, floors, bathrooms, and woodwork.

An inspection of the central heating system, drainage system, electric, gas and/or oil and water services.
An inspection of permanent outdoor buildings and the outside of the home including roofing, pipes, gutters, walls windows, and external doors.
Assessment of timbers for rot and active woodworm infestation.

What is a Building survey (RICS Home Survey – Level 3)?

A building survey or level 3 (formally known as a structural survey) is the most detailed type of survey available.
The level 3 survey includes a thorough inspection of all the accessible parts of the property and its outbuildings, an assessment of all the major and minor faults found within the property, and implications of these faults.
Examination of the potential for hidden defects, assessment of timbers for rot, and active woodworm infestation.
Review the condition of the heating and water system.
An investigation into the condition of the damp proofing, insulation, and drainage (if access to the drains is available).
We will also test the walls for problems with damp.

What happens after a survey?

After a survey has been completed you will receive advice and technical information based on the survey you choose, this includes guidance on any maintenance or repairs necessary.
You can view an example of a RICS Home Survey – Level 3 report here.

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