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Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases a person will make in their life, so you can see why a lot of people want to be as confident and as assured as they can be in this situation. This is why it is perhaps surprising to learn that only around 20% of buyers arrange for a professional survey to be undertaken at their new home.

Some people say that this type of survey is unimportant and just another expense during a costly period of your life. However, if there are any issues with a property, it is always best to be aware of them as early in the process as possible. Information contained with a survey will often ensure people avoid making the costliest mistake of their life and for peace of mind, obtaining a survey makes perfect sense.

A property survey should be undertaken by a qualified professional, with the majority of qualified surveyors holding membership of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, or RICS. It is best to call on the services of a RICS qualified surveyor because they will hold professional indemnity insurance. It can also be a good idea to call on a professional who has experience of homes in the area you wish to buy or in the style of home you wish to buy.

There is no set cost of a valuation and you will find that costs can differ between firms, by your location and by the size of your property.

While surveys can provide great insight into the condition of a property or whether any additional work needs to be carried out, there are some situations where obtaining a survey is highly recommended, including:

  • Where the property holds a listed status
  • If the property is old or has an unusual style
  • When the property has a timber frame or has a thatched roof
  • The buyer holding doubts about the true condition of the property

There are a number of surveys to choose from, so make sure you know what each survey entails before arranging one.

Mortgage valuation

You will often find that mortgage valuations are listed alongside surveys but they aren’t technically surveys. A mortgage valuation is a basic review of a property to assess its value and highlight any issue that may impact on the value of a property.

You will often be required to obtain a mortgage valuation through the insistence of your financial lender. This means that although a mortgage valuation doesn’t provide the buyer with any direct benefit, they will be required to arrange one in order to receive a mortgage.

A condition report

A condition report is the most basic type of survey you can obtain and it is the most affordable. It doesn’t provide a considerable level of detail so if you want peace of mind when considering buying a property, you may need a more advanced type of survey. However, if you are looking for a survey that adds more information to a mortgage valuation or you want a quick overview of key issues, a condition report will be of interest.

A HomeBuyers report

A HomeBuyers report is more detailed than a condition report and it will provide a property valuation and an insurance reinstatement value. This is the amount of money the owner would receive if their property was to be burned down. However, this style of report isn’t intrusive which means that it doesn’t go to great lengths to review the property. In a HomeBuyers report, the professional won’t move furniture or lift floorboards to carry out checks.

A HomeBuyers report doesn’t provide information regarding notable problems such as subsidence or rot. At this point in time, this style of report contains so many caveats regarding the condition of the property that there are concerns over how much information can be gleaned from the report.

A Home Condition Survey

A Home Condition Survey is provided by the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA), not RICS and it offers insight into factors like boundary issues, damp assessment and the speed of broadband. This style of report is checked independently.

A Building Survey

A building survey is the most expensive style of survey but it does provide the most information regarding the property and can be a worthwhile investment if you are looking for complete assurance about the property. This style of survey provides guidance and tips on the repair work needing to be carried out and it also offers estimated costs and timings for the work that needs to be carried out. A building survey will also provide you with a prediction on what will happen to the home if a survey isn’t carried out.

If you are looking to buy a home and you want to make an informed decision, call on the experts for help. At Austin Property Services, we are always on hand to ensure you make an informed decision, no matter what your next move in the property market is.

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