The Importance Of Getting A Home Survey

Buying your dream home is a big investment, so you want to ensure that the home you are buying does not turn into a money pit.

A copy of the report prepared for the lender following a brief inspection by the valuer, does not go far enough. The mortgage valuation is for the benefit of your lender – not for you, the borrower. It answers only the lender’s questions relating to the security of the property for loan purposes. You should not rely upon it to answer the questions that concern your interests. It also may not disclose significant defects.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, (RICS) have produced a handy video guide below, so please take a look, it may save you thousands of pounds!

Here is what The Council of Mortgage Lenders have to say on the matter:

“The valuation is carried out purely to help the lender decide whether it is willing to lend and if so how much. It is not an extensive survey and will not necessarily identify all the repairs or maintenance that might be needed. For a fuller picture you should consider having a complete Building Survey or mid-range Homebuyer Report carried out”.

It is a misconception that a mortgage valuation is a survey, it is merely based on a brief inspection of about 30-45 minutes. A mortgage valuation should not be relied on by a purchaser.

There are two main survey options to decide on :-

1. Homebuyer Report

A Homebuyer Report is a concise report, effectively a shortened Building Survey in a standard format set out by the RICS. It is most suitable for conventional properties built after 1900 that are in reasonable condition.

It does not detail every aspect of the property but focuses on urgent matters needing attention.

A Homebuyer Report will include:

  • A focus on essential defects and problems that are urgent and significant and could have an adverse effect on the value of the property.
  • General condition and features of the property.
  • Particular matters that should be referred to your legal advisers.
  • Any relevant considerations i.e. safety matters, location, environment, insurance etc.
  • Matters which are not judged to be urgent or significant will in general not be included in the report but the surveyor will mention matters judged to be helpful and constructive.
  • A valuation commenting on whether the agreed purchase price is correct and whether it reflects the condition of the property.

2. Building Survey

This examines all accessible parts of the property. If you have particular concerns mention them when the surveyor rings you prior to the inspection to ensure they cover it in your report.

A Building Survey will include:

  • A comprehensive inspection of all readily and safely accessible parts.
  • Technical information on the construction of the property and materials used.
  • Advice on the condition relative to current standards and the type and age of property.
  • Extensive information and details of any major or minor defects.
  • Recommendations for any further special investigations, if required.
  • Defects are highlighted and advice given on the nature of any repairs.
  • A valuation commenting on whether the agreed purchase price is correct and whether it reflects the condition of the property.

We can recommend an independent firm of valuers who would be more than happy to discuss all your requirements and determine which survey would be best for you. The report will be for your benefit and the lender will not need to see it which could delay the process or lead to further unnecessary questions.

Unlike those done by a lender directly, you will be able to discuss the report with the surveyor after it has been produced should you require any further peace of mind. They may even meet you at the property at the end of the survey.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further details.