It is important to be well informed about the condition of a property, and costs of repair before purchase. Pre-purchase property surveys are designed to provide the purchaser with detailed information on the building’s condition to allow a balanced decision on the purchase.
There are typically three levels of survey offered in the market other than simple valuations.
This is a level 1 survey. It is a standard form issued by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and can only be used by RICS accredited surveyors. It looks at all aspects of a property and provides a concise report on the condition of the various parts of the building.
The report is designed to be easy to follow and uses a ‘traffic light’ system to highlight the condition of each major part. For example, a green or Condition Rating 1 means the part, say the roof , is in good condition and just needs ordinary maintenance.
An amber or Condition Rating 2 means the part needs some repairs, a red or Condition Rating 3 means the part is worn out, needs replacement or, further investigation to assess its true condition.
The condition report does not provide valuation advice. The Condition Report is best suited to fairly modern houses that have not been heavily altered.
Also issued by the RICS the ‘Homebuyers’ is a Level 2 report and is probably the most used form of survey report. It is very similar to the Condition Report, it uses the same traffic light system, but adds some additional advice on repairs etc. It also includes a property valuation and insurance re-build cost calculation.
The Homebuyers is, like the Condition Report, best suited to fairly modern properties that have not been altered too much or have not suffered obvious major damage or neglect.
A Building Survey is a Level 3 survey.
A full building survey is exactly what it says. It is a complete inspection without causing damage to a building, that is, no opening up of walls, ripping up floorboards etc, that may eventually be necessary, but usually not at the first visit.
All accessible parts of the building will be examined, and all important areas will be reported on, though as with all surveys, very minor matters will not be discussed.
The purpose of a full Building Survey is to provide a potential purchaser with as much useful information as possible, before they buy. The report will also include fairly comprehensive recommendations for repairs, such as what repairs to make, how long can they be left, which are considered urgent, and the potential cost of major repairs. In the longer term, maintenance issues will also be discussed.
You may have plans to extend or alter a building you intend to buy. Provided you tell us what you would like to do before we inspect, we can look at those proposals and give you an indication of how feasible your plans are, taking Planning Consent and other statutory issues into account as well as practicability.
Sometimes, surveyors are criticised for recommending that someone else goes back to the property to investigate a possible defect. Electricians and drainage engineers are good examples of this. This will generally occur where there is genuine concern and where it is simply not possible, with the equipment available to the surveyor, to make a complete diagnosis on site.
Reduced or Limited Reports
Often, clients don’t want a full breakdown of every possible issue, often because they intend to replace the windows, kitchen or bathroom etc. anyway, or have plans for major alterations. Or perhaps they are experienced property owners and feel they can see for themselves all the minor problems a property may have. Such clients often just want reassurance that there is no hidden major issue such as subsidence or dry rot to worry about.
In these cases, we can offer a Limited Report. The level or inspection is identical to that of the Full Building Survey, we still look at everything, but we only report on major matters, and we don’t have our typist writing reams of stuff about bathrooms etc that will be pulled out anyway. Obviously, there is a cost saving to be made, and typically, we will reduce our standard fees to reflect the reduced content of the report.
If you are unsure which type of survey is right for you, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to discuss options with you, no obligation.
We are not estate agents; we are the people on your side.
We are property people, we understand the market and we understand the industry. To confidentially discuss your requirements please contact us.