You have been looking for a home to buy that you love and you think you have finally found it. But first, you need to make sure that there is nothing majorly wrong with it! You need a house surveyor. There are two main types of house surveys you can ask for in the UK, a HomeBuyers Report and a Building Survey. How do you know which one you need? It essentially breaks down to the HomeBuyers Report being the basic general checklist that most homes newer than 25 years need, and the Building Survey being a lot more detailed and suited for older builds.

Understanding a HomeBuyers Report or Survey

When you order a homebuyers survey you are basically ordering a health check on the building! It is a review of the condition of the property, from an independent and professional surveyor. It covers all accessible and visible parts of the property and is best for newer homes or older homes that are in great shape and have not had a lot of work done to them. Costs of this report vary from one surveyor to another and really depend on how much there is to record and how large the place is. On average you can expect the cost to be around the 400 pound mark, but a property with fewer problems that is small might cost less, and those with a lot of issues that are larger might cost more. The best option when looking for a chartered house surveyor is to find one that is accredited by RICS.

What does the homebuyers report checklist look like?

A general idea of what they look for follows;

  • The roofs, walls, ceilings, bathrooms, permanent outbuildings and features outside and major indoor features all have a visual inspection.
  • Data on the location and on the property’s background.
  • Testing walls for damp.
  • Assessing the building timbers to see what condition they are in.
  • Drainage, damp-proofing and insulation are all assessed.
  • A valuation on the current market though sometimes that is an extra fee.
  • While the inspection includes a look at the gas, electricity, drainage and heating systems, the surveyor is not a professional in those fields and all they can offer is whether it is working.
  • Urgent problems that need immediate attention like a gas leak.
  • A reinstatement value which is an estimate of how much a rebuild would cost, required for insurance.
  • A note of any other issues that could impact the property’s value.
  • Faults in parts of the property that are easy to access that might need a specialist to investigate further.

What a homebuyer’s survey does not cover?

  • If access is not possible to certain parts of the property, or you cannot see parts of it, then those things are not inspected. For a more detailed inspection that does go ‘deeper’, you would need a building survey, though that only goes as far as not putting the surveyor in any danger.
  • Communal areas are not inspected in a homebuyers report, for example, the lift in a block of flats.
  • While heating, gas, electrical and plumbing systems are looked at to see if they work there is no in-depth study of them. But if they think there is a problem there they will advise your next action.
  • Outbuildings that are just temporary.
  • Roofs on flats or apartment buildings.
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