Home Buyers Survey
Your questions answered by a RICS Surveyor in your area
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Should we go for a Full Structural Survey, Building Survey or HomeBuyer Report on a home in UK and which is cheaper?
The Full Structural Survey has been renamed by RICS as a Building Survey, although it is essentially the same level of survey.
If the UK property is an apartment, or is 100 or more years old, or has been substantially modified, or is of non standard construction, RICS advise the cheaper Building Survey.
If you are planning to do any major works on the UK property, you should you go for a Building Survey. The Building Survey is less cheap but it will offer an in-depth analysis of the UK property's condition as well as advice on defects as well as maintenance options .
For more detailed advice get a UK Home Survey Quote via our website or call 0800 038 6667 to speak to our survey team.
What is a home survey, and what will the surveyor actually do?
There are three main types of home buyers survey, the HomeBuyer Report, the Building Survey and the Property Valuation Report. Each of these has a different focus, so buyers should consider which of the three is the right choice for them:
HomeBuyer Report - A general survey of a home, including any visible defects or issues. If the property to be surveyed is of standard construction, and was built after 1900, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recommend that the HomeBuyer Report is usually the best choice. The report is delivered in a standardised format for easy reference. The HomeBuyer Report includes a valuation.
Building Survey - A more in-depth survey of a property, including all accessible areas of a home. RICS recommend the building survey for older properties, or those of non-standard construction. Building survey reports are tailored by the individual surveyor, and can address any additional questions or concerns. Note that this home buyers survey does not include a valuation as standard.
Property Valuation Report - The most basic of the three, this report is primarily a valuation, and will not include details of particular defects.
For more detail please see the detailed survey comparison table.
Should I get a separate valuation and reinstatement cost estimate (including costs for rebuilding permanent outbuildings) and how is it worked out
A Homebuyer Report on a UK building will include an independent valuation and a reinstatement cost as standard. To be able to determine the value of the property your RICS valuer will take into account local property market knowledge and other considerations about the property e.g. desirability of the location. The surveyor will also consider construction type and make certain other assumptions, for example no contamination in or from ground.
A Building Survey does not include a valuation as standard. A valuation can, however, be added for a small additional fee. Alternatively a Property Valuation Report (PVR) can be carried out.
Further UK assumptions, like the property being insurable, are made in addition to UK environmental issues like nearby pubs, which will also be factored in.
Are there any special considerations to bear in mind when surveying a slate-walled property?
Slate is a very durable walling material, but uncommon in many parts of England and Wales. In general, slate offers greater resistance to water and weathering, and is often used as a damp-proof course layer (DPC) for walls built from other types of stone, to protect the wall above the DPC from 'rising damp'. Slate is also employed as water-proof cladding. Delamination can occur as a result of frost damage, causing the slate to 'flake off'. Once this process has begun, the damage caused can accelerate. Slate cladding can also come loose if fixtures corrode, but these repairs are relatively inexpensive.
Where efflorescence has occurred (white stains or deposits on the surface of the stone) this indicates moisture has penetrated the slate. Building surveyors may advise that a slate wall or roof severely affected by efflorescence will soon require extensive repair. This can also suggest other deteriorating factors requiring further investigation.
Will the surveyor consider aircraft noise during the HomeBuyer Report valuation?
Aircraft noise is a problem for millions of people throughout the UK. Noise from local airports or flight paths can be inconvenient to the point of being distressing. Surveyors are often asked how they consider this when carrying out a HomeBuyer Report or a valuation. A surveyor will certainly factor in the perceived level of inconvenience as it will doubtlessly have an impact on the overall value of the property. If the area is generally affected, then local property prices will be generally affected and the surveyors local knowledge will enable them to put the issue in context.
As part of the Home Buyer Service, RICS actually stipulate that the surveyor must be familiar with the characteristics of the local area. Although this varies between regions, this knowledge typically includes environmental issues such as including flooding, aircraft noise, radon levels, mining, soil conditions, major areas of potential contamination, etc.; If you have specific concerns about noise, please let us know when you order your survey.