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.
Which survey should be chosen for a flat or apartment?
A chartered surveyor requires access to many parts of a property to carry out a thorough building survey. As the owner of a flat or apartment may not have access to any
roof or loft space, the surveyor will likely be unable to investigate. In many cases, this may not even be a major concern, if the flat is several floors removed from the roof. This means that a RICS HomeBuyer Report is the appropriate choice if you are buying such a property, rather than the non-standard building survey suitable for older houses.
During a HomeBuyer Report, the surveyor will assess all visible defects, and will also report any specific requests you have. Issues commonly addressed during an apartment survey include poor-quality finishing or installation of kitchen goods etc in new-build apartments, or spalling brickwork and damp-related problems in older properties. Defective plumbing, such as overflow pipes and cisterns, can plague both old and new flats alike.
The HomeBuyer Report has a standard format, and may or may not include smaller details which are unlikely to affect the valuation of the property or your decision to purchase.
In regard to flats which have a history of rental use, deferred maintenance can result in many of these smaller defects requiring some level of work. If this is a concern, ask the surveyor to include these smaller issues in their report.
. Potential health concerns such as congenital birth defects have been associated to landfill sites .
UK RICS surveyors will consider structural defects resulting from the site. Your solicitor will conduct environmental searches of the British Geological databases and Local Authority and address any concerns you may have .
Will the surveyor be able to tell me if there has been any damage due to flooding and whether it is likely in the future?
Flooding can cause severe damage to both contents and property, and occurs throughout England and Wales. Recent conflict between insurers and the government has caused a great deal of uncertainty for buyers and home owners in areas at a high risk of flooding, regarding whether they will be able to insure against flooding in the future at all.
Unfortunately, distance from water or height above sea-level is no guarantee that a home will be secure, as heavy rain and poor drainage can both also cause extensive flooding.
The Environment Agency maintain a flood warning service, including regularly updated area risk assessments.
As with many aspects of home ownership, prevention is better than a cure when considering flooding. Flood water can enter a property though a number of routes, including air bricks, poorly fitted doors and windows, and seepage through external walls. A property surveyor should be able to assess whether a house is susceptible to flooding via these routes, and can advise on repairs or additional preventative measures.
These can include costly but effective solutions e.g. the use of lime-based plaster on walls and properly constructed drainage, and less expensive options like the installation of air brick covers and door guards.