Property solicitors also play a very important role when you move house, as they look after all of the legal aspects. These aspects include surveys and reports, some of which are detailed below.
The purchase of a property is probably the largest financial transaction of your life and it is important that you get proper professional advice from a surveyor regarding the condition of the property.
Make sure you’re not one of those who makes the most common single mistake regarding surveys – simply assuming that if you do not need a mortgage, you don’t need a survey.
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3 Types of Property Survey
1. Basic Valuation Survey
If you need a mortgage, then the lender will probably insist on the cheapest option, which is the basic valuation survey. The basic valuation survey is purely for the lender’s needs and does not normally contain any details whatsoever about the condition of the property. In fact, it’s not unusual for the person preparing this kind of report to not even visit the property. That’s how basic these valuations are.
These are not really surveys and give you very limited information or protection. The real purpose of these valuations is to advise your mortgage lender how much the property is actually worth – and if there are any major problems which could affect the value of the property as security for the proposed mortgage loan. To protect yourself, at the very least you probably need a Homebuyers Report.
2. Homebuyer’s Report
These are a cheaper option, when compared to a full and comprehensive building survey, but In general terms are probably most appropriate where:
• The property is less than 30 years old
• It seems to be in reasonable condition
• The building is conventional in type and construction
The Homebuyer’s Report mainly looks at defects and urgent problems, highlight any problems such as damp and subsidence.
It also overs issues such as whether you should proceed with the purchase, is the price reasonable, what steps should be taken before agreements are made and contracts are signed, and is there anything that doesn’t meet current building regulations.
A Homebuyer’s Report is a survey commissioned directly by you with the surveyor. This means there is a contractual relationshipbetween you, and the surveyor is under an obligation to you to provide advice regarding the condition of the property. The advice given is backed by professional indemnity insurance – which means that you are covered by that insurance policy in case any problems are overlooked, or the surveyor is negligent or makes some other kind of error resulting in financial loss to you.
3. Building Survey
The most expensive, but most comprehensive report and is often referred to as “a full structural survey”. This is simply the most thorough survey you can get
It’s completed by a surveyor who visits the property, carries out an inspection and prepares a report outlining any problems they’ve found.
You can get a building survey on any type of property, but they are most common for old or unusual properties, or ones that have had a great deal of work and/or alterations done. People also get building surveys on properties when they are planning to do a large renovation or conversion.
You won’t get a building valuation as standard, but this can be arranged for an extra charge. You will get a detailed technical report about the property, its materials and any problems, both big and small.
Can I use the information in the survey to negotiate a lower price with the seller?
Yes that’s certainly possible. Certainly if the full structural survey reveals fundamental problems, it’s not unusual for vendors to be approached to reduce the price to make up for any remedial work that might be required.
Do I need any form of survey if I’m buying a new build?
When moving into a newly built property, you probably expect it to be in perfect condition. But sadly, that’s not always the case.
While most people won’t feel the need for a full structural survey when buying a new build, it’s not unusual for them to arrange what is known as “a snagging survey”. It is also sometimes known also as a New Build Assessment or New Build Snagging Survey
A snagging survey should pick up mainly on minor issues – the most common of which are often with doors and windows that don’t close properly, tiling, skirting boards and plastering, and will not normally need to deal with serious structural problems – though it’s not unknown.
Again the best person to appoint for a snagging survey is a RICS surveyor. In our experience it surprising how many new builds have snagging problems that were not picked up by the builders. You, or your surveyor, can then arrange for the developer to correct any defects found.
Click here to read more about buying a new build property.
Who should I appoint to carry out my survey?
Whether or not you’re buying the property to live in, or as a buy to let, don’t cut corners. Property surveys need to be done properly – and should only be completed by qualified surveyors.
Most surveyors will be members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and we suggest that it is a RICS qualified surveyor you need. Why? That’s because they’re experts, properly trained and in addition have to take out professional indemnity insurance in case of any mistakes.
If you would like a recommendation on good local qualified surveyors, just get in contact with our Salisbury property solicitors.
In fact it always sensible to get in touch with property solicitors to do your conveyancing before you start looking at properties. If you don’t have a conveyancing solicitor already lined up, then do some research on the Internet or look for a recommendation from friends or from the estate agent themselves.
Want to know more about the legal side of buying and selling property? Click here to read more about how our conveyancing solicitors can help you