For many of us, purchasing a property is one of the largest investments we will make in our lives. So things like property surveys can seem like an unnecessary expense at an already uncertain and costly time. In fact, only around 20% of people obtain a property survey assuming it will be too expensive and delay the home buying process. Amongst those people that do, often they choose the cheapest and most basic survey possible, for the sole purpose of securing a mortgage on a property (often a survey is required for this). In this post, we explain exactly why we need property surveys, how to get them and how much they cost.
Once your offer has been accepted on a property, it is really important to have a survey done before you exchange contracts. Property surveys should be undertaken during the buying process, when the information they provide can be a very powerful negotiation tool. They will help you find out about the condition of the building and give you a powerful bargaining chip for negotiating the buying price down or asking the seller to fix the problems, if problems are highlighted.
Say you are willing to go slightly above budget on buying price because you believe there are no outstanding work or repairs needed – a survey will either confirm or disprove this. If repairs to the building are likely to cost you around £5,000 to remedy, you should be able to negotiate at least some of this amount to be taken off of the value of the property. Alternatively, the seller may agree to fix the issues ahead of you moving in in exchange for paying the full price. And in some cases, these issues and works may already have been accounted for in the asking price. Surveys can also save time on disputes and altercations if arranged swiftly and by professionals.
You will need to carry out a Mortgage Valuation report as part of your mortgage, but this is not always sufficient to provide a detailed report of potential damages. For this reason, we suggest that you consider hiring a professional surveyor to carry out one of the more in-depth surveys available to you. A Homebuyers report or full structural survey will provide a more detailed list of any current issues and anything that may soon be an issue with the property. Homebuyers reports look at a lot less than full structural surveys. In the case of a Homebuyers report, you can use this information to communicate with a professional and get an estimate on costs or get a more detailed survey done on certain aspects. In the case of a full structural survey, this may also include considerations of the cost to remedy these issues.
Peace of mind and deal breakers
A survey can highlight structural damage or potential damage which you might not have spotted yourself. And this could save you money in the long-run. It could either provide you with evidence to justify any requests for works or price trimming prior to buying or it could dissuade you from buying the property at all. If you end up paying a premium for a property without a survey, move in and find that there are a huge number of issues with it, this could cost you a vast amount of extra money and put you in a very difficult position.
Purchasing property – in particular when the property will be your new home – can be a nervy time with some risk involved. The results of the survey may not always be positive news but at least you know exactly what you are walking into in terms of the risks and potential costs. And if the survey is undertaken before the sale goes through – which is usually the case – this also allows you to back out of the sale if required.
Once you have received the results from the survey, you should have a solid understanding of exactly what the surveyor has looked at and what the potential issues are. Although not all types of survey look at all aspects of a building, the surveyor does take liability for any issues that are missed with relation to that specific report. With a survey you gain a good amount of security that either issues have been identified or that there is someone accountable for missing them. Tip: you should always check the terms and conditions and any additional small print of your survey to identify exactly what the surveyor is taking liability for.
With packing and moving all your belongings, setting up all the utilities and all of the other admin that needs to be completed when moving – planning and organisation is very important. ‘Surprises’ when you have moved in that are not accounted for can cause a lot of inconvenience when trying to settle into your new home. They can also make exciting aspects like planned works and property improvements become stressful – when they come as unwelcome surprises! Getting a survey completed will let you know exactly what issues you may face so that you can then include them in your plans for the move (and get excited about it).
Who carries out the property survey?
A property survey is carried out by highly professional chartered surveyors to examine the condition of your property. A Chartered Surveyor is a property specialist. They have studied, undergone assessments and gained experience in order to achieve chartered status, awarded by Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). They produce a reports so you can see if it is a good investment, or if there are any issues that might create problems in the future, like damp, structural issues, or anything else.
What does a property survey cost?
Survey costs will vary depending on the size of the property and where it is. However as estimates, you can expect to pay the following amounts for each type of survey:
● between £600 and £1,000 for a structural survey
● between £150 and £1500 for a mortgage valuation survey
● around £400 for a homebuyer report
● around £250 for a condition report
● around £400 for a building survey
Buying your first property can be a daunting prospect but our friendly team provide honest and reliable advice and will be on hand every step of the way. Find your ideal property in South West London with the longest established independent estate agents of this area.