If you buy a property and then discover that it has serious structural problems or major building defects you could find that you’re landed with significant, unexpected expenses, not to mention the hassle of having building works carried out straight after you move in to your nice new house!

Instructing a building survey will help you to asses the condition of the property you’re thinking about purchasing before you discover any nasty problems. If your building survey does highlight any problems you will then have the option to re-negotiate the purchase price and ensure that you have enough money to tackle any issues. Contrary to wide-ranging consensus this applies to both old and new properties.

Will my lender undertake a building survey?

As a buyer purchasing a property via a mortgage, you will pay for a mortgage valuation report in order to secure a mortgage offer. This report should never be confused with a building survey. The mortgage valuation report merely assesses whether the property you’re considering is worth what they are loaning to you. It is not their responsibility to point out any defects or repairs.

Types of building survey

A building survey typically involves a visit to the property by a Chartered Building Surveyor who will look at the property inside and out, making visual checks and observations. Inspections usually take half a day to a day to complete. The report will be detailed and will list everything the Surveyor thinks you should be aware of about the property.

There are 3 main types of Building Survey, which can be undertaken by both buyers and sellers:

  1. Full Building Survey – This survey is the most comprehensive and is usually carried out on older properties. This type of survey gives a detail elemental report on the condition of the property and assesses the cost of repairing any problems discovered.
  2. Homebuyers Survey – This survey has less detail and is usually only undertaken on modern properties. Some Surveyors choose to prepare a short form Full Building Survey Report rather than a Homebuyers Survey as the content of a Home Buyers Survey is limited in its content allowing the Surveyor to tailor the report to the individual.
  3. Snagging Survey – This sort of survey relates to the inspecting and reporting of any outstanding snagging works to new building projects, which have reached completion. This report can then be presented to the contractor for rectification to ensure no defects are present when the property is ready for occupation. Typically new build projects can develop circa 50-60 snagging defects.

How much do they cost?

The price of a Building Survey is usually correlated to the size and purchase price of the property and also the type of report carried out. Whilst the cost of a Building Survey may seem like another expense, it could save you in the long run!

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