A quick guide to property surveys (and why you should have one)

You’ve put an offer in. It’s been accepted. You have a mortgage in place. The keys to your new home? You can almost smell them! Buying a house is really exciting – but to make sure your dream property doesn’t turn into a home from hell, you need to consider a survey.
What’s that? Another piece of jargon in the homebuying handbook?
Actually, surveys are more straightforward than you may think. And, are designed to clearly inform you about the property you’re buying – so you don’t have any nasty surprises once you’ve signed on the dotted line. In this blog post, we will delve into the most commonly asked questions around surveys – and explain how surveys can help you on your buying journey.
Are valuation reports the same as surveys?
First things first, let’s dispell a commonly-associated myth when it comes to surveys. Valuation reports are NOT surveys. We repeat valuation reports are NOT surveys. They are often mixed up as mortgage companies conduct their own basic inspection of the property – to help the lender confirm your requested loan. These inspections are limited – and will not reveal what you need to know when buying a home.

What survey should you choose?

At Follwells, we always recommend RICS homebuyer surveys. RICS (The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) is a professional body that promotes and enforces high standards in land, property, infrastructure and constructionthe land valuation sphere. Think of them as the absolute ‘go-to’ when it comes to surveying properties.

But are there a few different types of surveys?

Indeed – all tailored to how in-depth you want your survey to be…

RICS Condition Report

The most basic level – describing the condition of the property, identifying any risks and potential legal issues and highlighting urgent defects. 

This is more suitable for new builds and conventional homes in very good condition.

RICS HomeBuyer Report

Often a great compromise for those who want more than the basics – but don’t need the whole shebang.An often middle ground between the basics and the whole shebang.

The RICS HomeBuyer Report is a more detailed inspection that highlights any problems which could affect the property value – such as damp. goes into details like substance and damp – but doesn’t look under the floorboards or into the walls. 

This is most suitable for conventional properties in reasonable condition. 

RICS Building Survey and Full Structural Surveys 

More in-depth and tend to be advised for older, larger properties where you could be planning major works.

Both of these surveys are very extensive and give expert advice on potential issues – even without looking under floorboards or into the walls. 

All of the above survey options include a traffic light system – as below:

Condition Rating 3 (red)

These are defects which are either serious and/or require urgent repair or replacement.

Condition Rating 2 (amber)

Repair or replacement is required but isn’t considered to be urgent. Normal maintenance must be carried out.

Condition Rating 1 (green)

No repair is currently needed. Normal maintenance must be carried out.

Source: Description of RICS Condition Report Service 

Don’t worry if you’re not sure about what survey is right for the property you’re buying, get in touch with us – we’ll be able to advise you.

What do you do if your survey unveils lots of issues?

It can be disheartening when your survey uncovers problems with your supposed-to-be dream home.

But rest assured, it’s not unusual – and due to the thorough nature of the surveys you should expect some issues – especially with older homes.

At the end of the day, this is probably the biggest purchase you’ve ever made so it’s worth being well informed.

What problems can you expect?

Common issues include central heating, electrics and rotten window frames, red ash, damp, structural movement, building regulations, mining reports and Japanese knotweed.

How do you go about fixing these problems?

Sometimes, you may have access to guarantees. For example, if dampproofing was installed yet problems are showing – the current owner should be able to present warranties as part of the sale. For anything else, speak to the surveyor – we’re always happy to help our clients who have organised their survey with us. You can also get quotes from builders if major repairs are required.

How can a survey affect the offer on your property?

When issues arise, you need to take the amount you’re willing to pay for the property into account. In instances where extensive repair work is required, it’s worth renegotiating the sale price. Remember – don’t just think money – think time and labour too!

Peace of mind with in-depth property surveys

Do you want to feel confident about the home you’re buying?  Our easy-to-understand RICS surveys can help you make the right move – quite literally. And our hands-on approach means we’ll be here all the way to support you through your buying journey. Get in touch today to discuss your situation – and get a quote for a survey. Prices start at £400+ VAT.

Searching for a home in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, Shropshire or Cheshire

Not quite at the survey stage yet? Take a look at some of the great houses in the area today.

Or, get in touch with us to discuss your property search. You can even pop into one of our offices – we’re in Market Drayton and Newcastle-under-Lyme.