Surveyor report for new house

Should I get a survey before I buy a new property?

Don’t rely on your mortgage valuation to uncover any problems with your new home

Unfortunately only a small percentage of new buyers employ a property surveyor to report on their prospective new property before handing over their savings to the vendor. For some this can lead to a lot of stress and expense when they later discover serious problems with the property’s condition.

But what about the mortgage valuation? Surely the bank wouldn’t lend you money unless the property was in good nick? This line of thinking is misguided. Mortgage valuations are not surveys. The person who conducts the valuation probably spends five minutes glancing over the property to quickly assess how much it’s worth. They will note down any majors works required that they happen to observe, in those five short minutes.

The mortgage valuation is not there to protect you. It’s to make sure the property will be good security for the bank’s loan. Your bank will probably add the costs of the valuation on to your agreement. They will sometimes decide on the back of the valuation to reduce the amount they will lend.

A survey is significantly different.  You instruct the surveyor and the report will serve your interests. It involves a detailed inspection of the property. The surveyor will be looking out for structural problems, anything requiring major repairing work or alterations and will try to identify any potential legal issues.

Here are the types of survey provided by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors;

  • Condition Report ;
  • Homebuyer Report;
  • Building Survey.

The Condition Report is the cheapest, it’ll set you back around £250. It describes the condition of the property, identifies any risks and potential legal issues and highlights any urgent defects. Think about getting this if you’re being a new-build and conventional homes in good condition.

The Homebuyer Report weighs in at approximately £400, get this for conventional homes in reasonable condition. It will cover everything in the Condition Report and it will include advice on defects that may affect the property with repairs and ongoing maintenance advice. You can also pay a little extra to have a valuation added on.

The Building Survey is for larger and older properties, or if you have some renovations in mind. This will cost around £500. This will provide an in-depth analysis of the property’s condition and includes advice on defects, repairs and maintenance options.

We recommend to all our clients that they obtain one of these reports. Whilst it may seem like a lot of money, it could save you thousands in the long-term.

Just recently a client of ours agreed to purchase a new property. The previous owners had only bought the property a year prior but were already selling up. Our client was told that this because their child had moved schools. Erring on the side of caution our client decided to obtain a survey. This survey uncovered significant issues with the roof and damp everywhere. Estimates of the repairs have come in around £20,000. Our client pulled out of the sale and is now looking elsewhere. The survey cost £400, but saved them a fortune.

If you are purchasing a new home and would like advice in relation to any issues regarding surveys and mortgage valuations please give us a call on 02891 817715 or contact our property team by email