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And our survey says….tips on surveying for homebuyers

Commissioning a mid-level HomeBuyers Report, which on average costs £341.85, should uncover any common problems such as damp, blocked drains or electrical wiring problems. In many cases, this will allow the buyer to negotiate the cost of the repairs off the asking price.

A more detailed Building Survey, which typically costs on average £422.83, will look more closely at the structure of the building and include details of the materials and techniques used to build the home. This should identify more serious problems like subsidence or a roof leak, and is suitable for older or extensively modified homes.

According to the research, almost a third (31.7%) of homebuyers looking to commission a survey do not know what kind of survey they require. However, with 60% of England’s housing stock built before 1964 and 38% built before 1944, homebuyers cannot afford to risk having to pay for extensive repairs, which in some cases can cost thousands of pounds, after they have moved in. In some cases, the findings of a building survey may leave a buyer with no option but to pull out of the purchase.

Reallymoving.com has these tips on surveying for homebuyers:

Do not rely on a mortgage lender’s valuation: A mortgage valuation survey is only designed to assess whether the mortgage provider will be able to recoup their money in the event that you default on repayments. It will not assess the structure of your property.

Appoint an independent RICS surveyor who knows your area: Your mortgage lender may offer to extend their valuation to a proper survey, but it is often a better option to employ the surveyor directly. This means that you, rather than the mortgage lender, own the report, as well as giving you complete freedom to choose your preferred surveyor. A surveyor with local knowledge will also be aware of common problems in your area.

Be sure what kind of survey is most appropriate: As a general rule, a HomeBuyer’s Report (HBR) is usually sufficient for homes less than 50 years old and in a good state of repair. It uses a standard format and will include a valuation. A Building Survey, on the other hand, will be a more in-depth examination of a building’s structure and is recommended for older, dilapidated or extensively-altered properties. In all cases, consult your Chartered Surveyor to determine the most appropriate option.

Use the information when negotiating with the vendor: Make sure you fully understand the information in the report and use it when negotiating the price. If a surveyor believes that the property requires repairs or maintenance, you can negotiate the approximate cost of repairs off the asking price.

Rosemary Rogers, Director says:

“It’s very hard for the untrained eye to identify potential problems when viewing a home. Some buyers may feel that a survey is an unnecessary expense, but this very often proves to be a false economy. Much like an insurance policy, a survey offers information that should protect you against any potential problems with your new home. It not only offers peace of mind, but can also help you avoid some hefty repair bills, meaning it can pay for itself many times over.

“A survey needn’t be too expensive; in fact, the average cost of a survey has dropped by almost 25% in the last ten years, with a HomeBuyers’ Report costing £341.85 on average or £422.83 for a building Survey. Reallymoving.com will provide up to four free, instant quotes from a range of RICS Chartered Surveyors, helping you to get the best deal.”