Whether you’re buying your 1st home or your 10th, should I get a survey? If so, what sort of survey should I get?

Buying a property is a huge step and you’re spending a lot of money so it’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. A survey can help you to understand exactly what you are buying and any money that may need to be spent on it, either now or in the future.

You can choose what sort of survey you want and need. The most common types of surveys we see are either a mortgage valuation survey or a home buyer’s survey.

A mortgage survey is the most common survey we see. This is when a surveyor goes out to have a look at the main aspects of the property and make sure it is worth what you are paying, so you don’t pay over the odds and is usually required by your lender if you are obtaining a mortgage. The surveyor will give their opinion on the price, as well as pointing out any major issues that require attention. This is one of the most basic types of survey you can have.

The next step up is a home buyers survey report. These reports give a deeper insight into the condition of a property. These reports tend to include a traffic light structure on the state of various parts of the property. Green meaning all is ok, amber being some cause for concern, red being repairs are vital. It also provides a summary of any risks to the building and will include comments on structural works that may have been done in the past.

We recently had a chat with an experienced surveyor who has advised us on some changes to the way he is instructed to carry out home buyers surveys. As an example, if he would have previously noted a roof as green (all ok) but sees a cracked slate or cracked pointing, he is forced to list that as either amber or red, even though there would be little work to repair these minor issues. Similarly, home buyers reports will always state that electrical systems and heating/gas systems must be checked by a qualified tradesman and are therefore always listed red (urgent action required). It does not mean there is anything wrong, but the surveyor cannot confirm that all is ok with these systems as he is not a qualified tradesman. This often appears worrying to a potential buyer who think their new home is about to fall down or plunge them into a black hole of debt. We are on hand to help to interpret these surveys and, if required, get the correct tradesmen in to look at any issues raised.

A lot of buyers take a builder/tradesmen with them for a second viewing. They should be able to point out any cause for concern and suggest any repairs that need to be done.

Properties will always need love and attention now and then so don’t get too worried over the red warnings on a home buyers report. A lot of the things that come back on these surveys are common issues that are standard on every report.

The most in depth type of survey is a building survey and is conducted by a qualified structural surveyor. They will look in depth at all aspects of the property, building and structures you are buying, noting any issues and potential costs for repairs. We usually see these types of surveys being done on older buildings or properties where the buyer has a particular concern such as structural movement/cracking. These are less common but we are still able to help talk a buyer through these types of reports to help them understand everything thoroughly.our buying your 1st

Deciding whether to have a survey done or not is certainly personal preference but, whatever you decide to do, the team at Living Local are on hand to help you make an informed decision and to understand the results of any reports obtained. Just contact us for more details.