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The importance of a home survey

By Steven Bond - 04 July 2013

For many people, buying a home is one of the biggest decisions they will ever make. However, by failing to commission a survey before purchase, home buyers are leaving themselves exposed not only to potential defects but also the related costs associated with putting things right.

According to RICS [Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors] research, a quarter of all homebuyers who fail to have a survey are forced to undertake unplanned building works or repairs after purchase*. The average bill for these works, such as damp proofing or repairing a roof, is over £1,800 – but often costs can be much higher.

A common misconception is that a mortgage lender’s valuation report represents a survey. In fact, it is merely a valuation carried out on the mortgage lender’s behalf and is not designed to highlight any potential problems with the property. By commissioning an appropriate survey, any structural problems or urgent defects are highlighted, enabling the buyer to make an informed decision about the property.

The two most common types of survey are....

•    A RICS Homebuyer Survey and Valuation which is generally intended for properties that have been built in the last century and are in a reasonable condition. The report will assist a purchaser reach a balanced and informed decision as well as identify any essential repairs or serious defects where relevant.

•    The Building Survey (previously known as a Structural Survey) is a more detailed report and will involve a thorough visual examination of all accessible areas, including external elements, internal areas and the service systems. Additionally it will describe the general construction and condition of each part of the property in question and highlight all defects irrespective of their severity.

In difficult economic times it pays to be prepared. Nobody wants to be left with a home that needs extensive repairs or one they can’t sell on. By having a survey you’ll be armed with information on the condition of the property which puts you in a stronger position when negotiating on a property.

Beresfords surveyors are all RICS qualified and are available to discuss with clients the detailed reports that are prepared on their behalf.

For further information on Beresfords survey department contact: 01245 422796

*Survey conducted for RICS by GfK NOP Business 1,001 interviews were conducted online during August 2010 with people who had bought a property in the last 12 months or were considering doing so in the next 12 months.