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House-hunting? Everything you need to know about home surveys

House-hunting? Everything you need to know about home surveys Buyers and sellers alike dread surveys. Some buyers worry that their dream home might face hefty repair bills down the line. Sellers worry that the home they have lived in happily for fifteen years has hidden defects which will be revealed in a survey. But a survey can also – and should also – offer reassurance. Just take on board these ten basic points and you will be able to view a surveyor as a friend, not a bogeyman.

House-hunting? Everything you need to know about home surveys

Buyers and sellers alike dread surveys. Some buyers worry that their dream home might face hefty repair bills down the line. Sellers worry that the home they have lived in happily for fifteen years has hidden defects which will be revealed in a survey.

But a survey can also – and should also – offer reassurance. Just take on board these ten basic points and you will be able to view a surveyor as a friend, not a bogeyman.

1.There are several types of survey: a valuation report, undertaken on behalf of the mortgage-lender; a simple ‘condition’ report; a more thorough ‘home-buyer’s report’, identifying any basic problems with the property; and a full structural survey.

2.Costs vary accordingly. A condition report can cost as little as  £100, a full structural survey in excess of £1,000.

3.Skimping on survey costs is usually a false economy. A recent survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors found that buyers found themselves facing on average £5,725 worth of ‘unanticipated’(i.e., not revealed by a survey) repair bills on their new homes.

4.Be wary on depending solely on the mortgage-lender’s valuation report. Its main object is to establish whether you have paid a fair price for the property, not to quantify likely repair costs in the future.

5.In the case of new-build or recently built properties, a full structural survey is generally superfluous.

6.Conversely, there can potentially be nasties lurking in some older properties, from mould to leaking roofs, so a full structural survey is always advisable.

7.Do not assume that, if you are buying a flat, you do not need a survey of the property as a whole. There could be costs in the pipeline – for repairing the roof of the house, say – of which you will have to bear your share of the cost.

8.Before the surveyor starts work, do some homework of your own. If you see damp patches in the kitchen, rotting window frames or dodgy point-work, make sure your surveyor is on the case.

9.You should only ever appoint a properly qualified chartered surveyor. For more information, visit the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ website

10.Do not panic if a survey throws up a major problem. Get an estimate of what repairs are likely to cost, then discuss them with the vendor. Some vendors may consider reducing the price. And remember: if you drop out, they will have to find another buyer for their property, and the next surveyor is likely to identify the same problems.

 

If you would like more advise from a property professional about buying or selling your property, click here to find your local Winkworth office or to start your property search click here

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