Home Surveys 101: Everything You Need to Know as a First-Time Buyer
If you’re planning to buy a property and thinking of getting a mortgage, then you’ll need to get the home surveyed. Not only will a house survey help you determine the actual value of the home (compared to the asking price), it will also determine whether or not there are any problems, and if so, what can be done to fix it. Furthermore, the home survey will help you in your negotiations with the seller and may allow you to purchase the property at a lesser price.
However, there are several kinds of surveys, and they each have their advantages and disadvantages. If you’ve never done it before, it can be hard to understand the differences, and difficult to decide which you need. Here’s your guide to home surveys 101: everything you need to know as a first-time buyer.
The different kinds of surveys
In order to choose the kind of survey best for you, you should understand your following main choices:
- Mortgage valuation – This isn’t really a proper house survey, as it won’t tell you anything about the condition of the house. It’s usually conducted on the mortgage lender’s behalf.
- RICS condition report – This is the most ‘basic’ proper survey available, and gives you a rating regarding the condition of the property.
- RICS building survey – It’s the most detailed survey you can get, as the experts do a comprehensive analysis of the structure and the condition of the house or building.
- RICS Homebuyers report – If you’re looking for something in between the RICS condition report and the RICS building survey, you may want to consider the RICS homebuyers report; it is more detailed than the condition report, but less comprehensive than the building survey.
- SAVA home condition survey – The SAVA home condition survey is similar to the RICS homebuyers report, except that it doesn’t include the market valuation of the home.
- New-build snagging survey – This only looks for all defects in a new-build home and mentions this in a report; it can be sent to the developer to straighten out problems.
Is it worth it? – The costs
As you can see, due to the differences, you can expect different prices to be charged. A homebuyers report can cost anywhere from £350 to £950, whilst a building survey sets you back anywhere from £500 to £1,300 (depending on the size of the house).
It’s certainly advisable to get a survey done, as a building surveyor Chelmsford from Chekes & Co. recommends. Even in the worst case scenario, when a survey costs, say £1000, it’s money well spent – you might discover that there are some problems with the property that might cost ten times as much to fix. You have to understand the condition of the house before you spend money on it. It’s too important not to know.