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Do I need a home survey when buying a house?

We answer the question ‘Do I need a home survey when buying a house?’

Do I need a home survey when buying a house? Yes, you need it because the money spent on the survey could save you thousands. This is because it provides you with an honest transparent review of your potential new home and highlights any issues with the property.  It would be very risky to buy a property without such a survey.

A mortgage lender will do a valuation report which is different to a comprehensive home survey. Valuation determines if the property you are buying is worth the price you have agreed to. Comprehensive home survey will instead, help you make a decision by looking at any potential drawbacks of the property.

If however, you are buying a new built home, a valuation is probably sufficient because the property should be covered by a 10 year warranty (NHBC certificate or Buildmark).

What survey should I go for?

Not all surveys are the same and the one that will suit you will depend on your property and its location. For example: if your property is near a river it would be best to get the flood risk checked thoroughly. Also you might need more than one survey sometimes and therefore you will need to budget.

There are 3 main surveys: condition report, homebuyer report and building report

Condition report

This survey provides an overview of the condition of the property, highlighting areas of major concern, but without extensive detail. This is useful for buyers purchasing a modern house in good condition. Condition Reports are the cheapest option and usually cost between £100 and £250. However, you will not receive a property valuation with this survey. This should not prove a problem if  you are funding the purchase with a mortgage, as the lender providing the mortgage should carry out a valuation.

Homebuyer report

A Homebuyer Report is more detailed and can often be carried out at the same time as a valuation report. This type of survey is the most popular report for buyers and is most suitable for modern properties. The results will give advice on any problems that may affect the value of the property. It will also give recommendations for repairs and ongoing maintenance. It doesn’t include cost estimates for repairs, any detailed description of the construction or detailed advice on specific problems.

Costs fall between about £250 and £400. It is a good choice if you have some concerns about the state of the property and how much any problems could cost to fix. An example could be urgent issues that need inspecting by a specialist such as dampness and damage to timbers.

It’s not usually suitable for properties in need of renovation, or if you’re planning major alterations.

Building survey

It is particularly useful for older, larger or non-traditional properties or those that have been extensively altered. Also, if the buyer is planning a major conversion or renovation. This survey will be necessary if the property is dilapidated. A Building Survey is a comprehensive report providing a full breakdown of the condition of the property, with diagnosis of defects, and repairs and maintenance advice. An estimate of repair may can also be offered as an optional service to be provided in the report, if it is agreed with the client in advance.

Costs will vary depending on the size of the property and where it is. However, you can expect to pay around £1,000 for a survey of this kind.  It can be well worth paying if it identifies issues which could cost thousands to put right.

A full structural survey should provide you with all the information you will need to decide whether or not you want to proceed with the purchase or pull out. However, unlike the Homebuyer Report, a full building survey will typically not include a valuation of the property.

We hope this answers your question ‘Do I need a home survey when buying a house?’.  If you are looking to buy a property in Central London, please visit Greater London Properties, Central London’s largest independent estate agent or call us on 0207 113 1066.

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