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Property Surveys: What type do I need? (AD)

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A survey is an assessment of a property’s condition and is carried out by a Chartered Surveyor using a surveyor accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). A survey is something you carry out in addition to the legal work your Conveyancing Solicitors London carry out. There are various types of survey, each with their own benefits. The higher the level, the more in depth the survey is. 

Types of house survey

Level One: RICS condition report

It probably goes without saying, this is the most basic type of survey. And gives an overview of the condition of the property, highlighting significant issues. But it does not go into detail. A condition report is suitable if you are buying a standard, modern property or new build that is in good condition, and you want to merely confirm that everything is as it should be.

The report uses traffic light ratings to show the condition of different parts of the property. You will be able to identify any serious defects that need immediate correction, or anything that might affect the property’s safety.

Level Two: RICS Homebuyer Report

This is the standard choice for most properties that are in reasonable condition, and the most popular type of survey. The homebuyer report looks at everything that is covered in a level one condition report, with added extras and lists any problems that might affect the value of the property. It should also highlight any issues with damp and subsidence and identify anything that doesn’t meet current building regulations. 

The inspection does not look behind furniture or beneath floorboards, so it will only be able to see “surface level” issues. A homebuyer report may also include information such as how much the surveyor believes the property to be worth, and how much it would cost to completely rebuild if it was destroyed and could not be repaired.

Level Two: Sava Home Condition Survey

This is similar to the RICS Homebuyer Report, but without the market valuation. It includes photographs to make it easier to understand and highlights any issues to follow-up before purchase. It also flags any legal questions your conveyancing solicitor should check for you. 

Level Three: RICS Building Survey

This is also called a full structural survey and is the most thorough survey you can get. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the structure and condition of the property. If you are buying a property over 50 years old, in poor condition or an unusual design, a level three survey is an excellent option. This type of survey is usually only done on houses and not flats. 

The surveyor will be “hands-on” and will check the attic, and look beneath floorboards, the report will list any defects and advise on maintenance or repairs. You can also ask the surveyor to include a costs estimate and timings for any work recommended within the report.

Snagging survey

A snagging survey checks for problems with a new-build home. The best time to have a snagging survey done is the period between the end of building work and before exchanging contracts. This allows the developer time to repair any snags before you move in. If the developer denies the surveyor access to the property, you can technically have a snagging survey done at any time during the first two years of ownership, although you’ll have less leverage at this stage than you would have done earlier in the process. 

What do surveys cost?

The cost of a survey depends largely on the location, size and type of property. Different surveyors will also charge varying amounts, so it is wise to get several quotes before deciding who to use. 

Do I need a house survey?

A survey can feel like an unnecessary expense, but it is far better to be aware of any problems before committing to buy a property, and if necessary budget for any work that needs to be done if you decide to continue with the purchase. In that case, you may be able to use the information to renegotiate the price with the seller before exchanging contracts to take into account the extra cost of repairs. You can speak to your online conveyancing solicitors to find out more details.

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