Selecting the correct survey report for you
There are three types of “survey” available. If you are applying for a mortgage, they will have to pay for a mortgage valuation through the mortgage lender. This is likely to cost about £250-£350. However…. The mortgage valuation is not a “survey” as such. This report is for the benefit of the lender, to judge whether the property has enough collateral for them to lend money against it. Although the borrower has to pay, it is arranged by the lender, who retains legal ownership of the documentation. Should the valuer fail to spot a costly defect, the buyer will have no claim against him or the mortgage company.
Therefore, many buyers feel they may as well pay a bit more – £350 to £450 – for a Homebuyer survey report and valuation combined. This report uses RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) to comment on the condition of the property and as you are employing the surveyor directly, he can sue him if he fails to spot a defect, or at least make a claim on the surveyor’s public liability insurance.
Surveyors are acutely aware of this possibility, of course. This is why their reports are full of caveats and exclusion clauses, such as, “…the roof appear to be in good condition”, and “…floor coverings and furniture have not been moved”.
Surveyors know that to be found guilty of negligence, it will have to be proved in court that the overlooked defect was clearly visible at the time of the inspection. They are unlikely to bring ladders to inspect the roof space. Neither will they lift manhole covers to inspect the drains, nor remove bath panels to check for plumbing leaks. They will state that they have not tested the heating or electrics, and recommend that other specialists are called in to do this. For this reason, many readers have, indeed, said they felt their Homebuyer Surveys were a waste of money.
Which brings us to the full Building Survey (formerly referred to as a Structural survey report). This will cost from £600 to £1,000, and will be a much more thorough investigation. You should expect the surveyor or engineer to bring ladders and wear overalls. They should open manholes, remove bath panels and even lift carpets and floorboards (with the permission of the vendor of course). VitalSpace recommend that all buyers should pay the additional cost for a full Building Survey, even on a newly built house.
If you are purchasing your next property without the assistance of a mortgage, VitalSpace Estate agents can recommend local independent surveyors to carry out a range of surveys to ensure your next property purchase is without fault.