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What Property Developers Need to Know About Surveys

Mon, 31 Oct 2016



This article refers to a recent Home Buyers Survey.

Most property developers are well aware of the dangers of buying property blind. But even if you’ve bought and sold hundreds of properties, there’s still always a risk of getting a bad deal. The only way of avoiding this for certain is to make sure you have a survey before investing.

Boundaries

As a property developer, you’ll probably be planning on renovating your new property, and maybe even extending it. Because of this, it’s more important for you to find out about the property’s boundaries.

When you have a survey done, you’ll get an official boundary line certification showing where your property finishes and your neighbour’s begins. This is vital if you plan on building, as any structure built on someone else’s land will usually have to be destroyed and returned to its original state. Well worth checking before you start then.

Party walls & other shared rights

But it’s not just outside boundaries that you need to be aware of. Party walls are just as important and if not checked, can restrict your development plans. There’s also joint driveways, rights of support, overhangs, encroachments and projections. These all relate to various shared boundaries that will need to be looked into before you start any work.

If you’re planning on extending or rebuilding on your new property, you will need to make sure you have any necessary party wall and shared rights agreements in place and that the neighbours are happy for you to go ahead. Without this, your developments could be seriously delayed, if not stopped completely.

Rights of way

You’ve no doubt heard of the previous two points, but have you made sure to check what rights of way you have when building?

Bringing lorries, diggers and skips into a neighbourhood is already difficult for obvious reasons – the neighbours often aren’t too pleased when they’re suddenly living on a building site, but if you don’t check the legalities of what you’re doing you could end up in court, particularly when it comes to someone not being able to access their property through their official rights of way.

Defects

For a property developer, profit is everything, so you want to know for sure if the property you’re buying is a sound investment.

Alongside the standard checks for things like subsidence, damp and rot, a survey can pick up smaller problems like electricity that needs rewiring or chimney repairs. While these may seem insignificant in comparison with bigger problems like subsidence, they can cost several thousand pounds to fix correctly, which could seriously affect your profit margin.

Planning permission

Planning permission is surveys-101 and you’re probably pretty familiar with it, but it doesn’t hurt to remember that planning permission should be your first port of call.

What you might not be aware of, however, is that a survey can tell you about every planning application ever filed for that property before you buy it. This is incredibly useful because if someone has already applied to build something similar and was denied, you know the limits before you invest in the property.

If you would like to book a competitive and professional survey from Surveyor Local, use our online quote generator or call us on 0800 038 6667

Click for more information, or to arrange a HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey.