You need a property survey
You’ve found the property – now what? You need a mortgage, and even if you have agreed in principle how much you can borrow, your mortgage lender will require a property specific survey before signing on the dotted line. This is so they can be confident that the property is worth the money they will be lending you to pay for it.
What kind of property survey?
But there are many different types of property survey and it can be difficult to know which will be best for you. What the mortgage lender demands will usually be the minimum. Whether you decide on any other kind of survey will depend on many factors: what kind of property you are buying; what has been done (or not done) to it by previous owners; what you plan to do with it (eg extend into the roof), and what kind of people you are in terms of how much information and reassurance you need.
This is the most basic property survey and is generally required by your mortgage provider. Accordingly, the survey is organised by them, not you but you still pay for it. While it should confirm that the property is worth the amount of the mortgage, it will not provide any further information, eg whether there are signs of subsidence. Such a document may not even require a visit to the property itself. You may well feel you’d like more reassurance than this valuation can provide and a proper property survey, rather than a simple valuation, is generally recommended.
This is a property survey providing more information to the buyer about the condition of the property. It will provide a valuation, but will also give you an indication of any defects, such a roof needing repair. This information can be useful in negotiating the price with the seller. A homebuyer’s report is carried out by a member of the RICS, and comes in their standard format.
Also known as a Full Structural Survey, this is more detailed than the Homebuyers Report and therefore more suitable in cases where further information is sought, for example where the property is particularly old or unusual, or if you are planning major renovations. It does not follow a standard format and can be tailored to address any specific concerns that you have. Building Surveys do not automatically include a valuation, so you should check first if this is important to you.
Other property surveys
There are some other terms you may come across:
Home condition survey or report:
These are carried out by RICS surveyors or home inspectors accredited by SAVA. They can alert you to potential problems for further investigation, and thus can supplement the mortgage lenders valuation.
New-build snagging survey:
These make sure that all the services and finishes in a new build are up to scratch.
Finding a surveyor
Once you have decided on the type of survey you want, it pays to shop around and maybe chat to surveyors to find the one that best suits your needs and your budget. reallymoving.com works with hundreds of RICS qualified surveyors' just fill in our form to get Chartered Surveyor Quotes in your area.