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A simple guide to home surveys

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With an increasing number of home owners needing to get a property survey, outside of those required for a mortgage, PPA has pulled together a straightforward guide to the main different types of surveys you can get.

This is far from an exhaustive list, but covers the main surveys you are likely to need. As with any formal survey you will need to make sure that the surveyor is suitably qualified and should be a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

So what type of survey are you likely to need?

Full Building Survey

A full Building Survey will typically cost in the region of £300 to £600 and will be carried out by a Chartered Surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Surveyor will normally look at the complete property and give a detailed report on the state of the building. This is probably the most popular type of report and it is very suitable for older properties or properties which have had major alterations over the years, or properties which appear to have problems that need further investigation.

Homebuyer Report or RICS Condition Report (previously called a 'Homebuyer Survey and Valuation')

A Homebuyer Report will typically cost in the order of £200 to £400. It will be carried out by a Chartered Surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and is licensed to do Homebuyer reports. The Surveyor will normally look at the complete property and give an opinion as to whether or not the house is value for money to the purchaser. This sort of report is usually used for mortgage purposes to make sure the lender has sufficient equity in a property. However, this is not exclusively the case.  A Homebuyer Report is usually suitable if the house is of modern straight forward construction and has not had any major alterations carried out.

The old 'Homebuyer Survey and Valuation' report used to be very popular until the RICS informed their members that they could no longer carry it out. This has led to a lot of confusion. It should be noted that a lot of Surveyors will carry out a report in the style of the old 'Homebuyer Survey and Valuation' report usually without the valuation. Talking to your chosen Surveyor about the different options is very much recommended.

Valuations

A Valuation only survey will typically cost in the order of £150 to £300. It will usually be carried out by a Chartered General Practice Surveyor. This type of survey is usually done for the benefit of the mortgage lender and is used to support a mortgage application

However, they are increasingly being used outside of the mortgage process. They are often used for Probate, to agree on the value of a property. A Probate Valuation will usually be of a similar cost and will be performed in a similar way. It will be commissioned by an executor who wishes to value the property of an estate with reference to his or her obligations to the beneficiaries and any liability for inheritance tax.

A Valuation may also be requested in the case of divorce, a sale within a family or in some debt settlement processes. In all cases it is important to make sure that the surveyor is qualified to carry out this type of work.

Other Survey Types

The evolving property market has created the need for a number of products meeting different needs, from very specific structural inspection surveys through to Arboricultural surveys. As with all other surveys, make sure that the surveyor you instruct holds the right accreditations and qualifications to carry out the work you are requesting.

 

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