Homebuyer Building Surveys
Westminster and London
If you are planning to buy a new home, you should consider getting a survey done to give you a clearer picture of the home you intend to buy. A homebuyer survey helps you avoid unexpected repair costs in the near future by giving you detailed information about how much you may have to invest in your property after buying it.
The most common two choices are RICS Condition Reports and RICS Homebuyer Report, but other types of surveys also exist. Of all the people who request a survey, the majority opt for a homebuyer report.
However, it is worth pointing out that a worrying statistic of about 7 million homeowners did not request a survey before buying a property. The homebuyer report is a middle ground between the most basic Condition Report and the full Building Survey, also formally known as the Structural Survey.
What is a Homebuyer Report?
A homebuyer report is basically a health-check report that tells you more about the condition of your new home. The report is recommended for most new homes and conventional older homes that are in a good state of repair. The purpose of the report is basically to give you an independent view of the property’s condition and highlight any defects of the building.
What Does a Homebuyer Report Cover?
The report gives you a more detailed inspection and more extensive information on the condition of your property than you can get from a basic condition report. The report will also highlight the major problems that can affect the value of your property such as rot, subsidence and damp.
However, it is important noting that the surveyor will only look at things that are immediately visible. The surveyor will not lift the carpets or check behind the furniture and may not even inspect the roof space that requires climbing a ladder. Nevertheless, most homebuyer reports give a valuation of the house.
If you find the valuation is lower than the mortgage lender’s own valuation, you should consider revising you offer. The survey will also include insurance ‘reinstatement value’, which is the compensation amount you would receive in case the building is destroyed.
A good report is concise and uses a clear traffic-light coding system to highlight defects in your new home. The report also provides:
- A list of problems that need your attention
- Advice on repairs and maintenance
- Legal considerations
What is the Difference Between a Building Survey and Homebuyers Report?
A homebuyer report is generally better for properties that…
- were built within the last 100 years
- are built from common building materials
- are of more conventional design
- are in a reasonable condition, as far as you can tell
A building survey is generally better for properties that…
- are much older and built more than 100 years ago
- are of non-traditional construction
- have undergone major extension or alteration
- you plan to alter in the future
When buying an old building, it is beneficial to request a full Building Survey, which offers a more comprehensive report instead of a Homebuyer Report. In some occasions, your finance provider or building society can commission a valuation report as a requirement. In such situations, it is worth noting that the valuation report is more useful to the lender than to the purchaser as it does not contain the detail that you require and hence, you should consider requesting a more detailed survey report.
Common Issues in Home Surveys
Chartered surveyors RICS may find various issues when conducting a home survey. These are a few of the more common ones they may encounter.
Another of the most common problems discovered through home surveys is poor roofing. It would be best to ask for a thorough inspection of interior roof spaces and exterior parts such as chimneys.
Electrics / Old Wiring
Homes should undergo tests of the electrical system every ten years. A common issue found during home surveys is that a property does not have the necessary electrical test certification.
Japanese knotweed may not cause significant structural damage. However, the weight of its foliage or its creeping roots can cause structural weakening.
Smoke or Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are an essential part of every home. They are a crucial safety feature of a property, and a thorough survey will allow you to know of their installation.
Damp is one of the most common issues found during property surveys. Home buyers will encounter this issue when water makes its way into the property from the exterior. Poor ventilation and condensation are the main contributing factors to damp.
Another common home survey issue found by surveyors comes when assessing the structural timber of a property. You can identify problems such as weak lintels or sagging beams during a home survey.
Another common issue often found by a qualified chartered surveyor is that of subsidence. Subsidence is where, over the years, the foundations of a property begin to sink, weakening the overall structure. Caused by underground leaks or nearby trees, it is a significant issue that needs to you must identify in a home survey.
Rotten Window Frames
Rotten window frames are also a common problem found during home surveys. Untreated wooden frames will rot, whether through natural weathering or pests. Chartered surveyors will identify these issues through thorough surveying of a property.
Extensions and Alterations
Any extensions or alterations carried out on a property must comply with the building regulations. Therefore, the property's vendor must have the subsequent paperwork to prove they have complied with these regulations.
What to do if a Survey shows Problems?
If you have asked for a professional survey to be carried out on a property and details multiple issues with the building, you have a few options. While you may have had your heart set on a new house, it may be best to walk away if the survey valuations reveal numerous costly problems with the property.
On the other hand, based on assessing how much any repairs to the property may cost you, you may get the vendor to negotiate, possibly reducing the building's initial price. It may also help to arrange for the vendor to fix any damage to the property before purchasing.
What is a bad Homebuyers Report?
RICS homebuyer reports are more simplified that full building surveys and entirely different to a mortgage valuation, often using a traffic light system to detail and rate any issues found in a property.
Should the report flag any problems that need further investigation or action, then the surveyor will be able to explain them to you thoroughly and direct you to the appropriate places to remedy them. This action may be as simple as speaking to a contractor, hiring a specialist, or discussing the issue with the seller.
Are you looking for homebuyer building surveys in Westminster and London? Call 020 7112 4891 to discuss your requirements with our surveyors.