The recent partial collapse of a detached property in Kings Norton, Birmingham is a stark reminder of the importance of having a survey when purchasing a property. The incident happened on the 2nd June when a recently purchased property worth £475,000 collapsed after builders had been working on the property on behalf of the new owners. Investigations are still taking place to see why this happened and when conclusions are made there are sure to be questions asked about the original survey, if there was one!
Incidents like this really bring home the need to have a survey when purchasing a property but it’s easy to be confused about the type of surveys that are out there and what you really get for your money. It’s also very easy to be seduced by a property when you are in the market to buy. That ‘shabby-chic’ look and characterful brickwork that you really love might be the start of an underlying problem that could cost you thousands! In fact, new research by RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) has shown that the average buyer could be setting themselves up for nearly £6K of repair bills if they haven’t taken out the right type of survey.
So what is the right type of survey?
There are generally four different types of reports that are available and some of these are not surveys at all so it pays to know the difference. Let’s take a quick look:
A Mortgage Lenders Valuation Report – this can often be confused as a survey, especially if you are a first time buyer and have little experience in the housing market. A valuation report is basically a report carried out on the mortgage lender’s behalf to see that the property is worth the money that you are paying for it. This is a superficial review of the worth of your property and doesn’t go into any significant detail.
A Condition Report is a step up from a valuation report and will highlight areas of major concern but once again, there will be no extensive detail. It’s the kind of report that’s fine if you’re buying a fairly new property with no obvious problems but if you’re looking to buy something a bit older then you will probably need something more comprehensive.
A Homebuyer’s Report is the most popular survey that is used and goes into more detail about defects and areas that could alter the value of the property. It’s fine for modern properties and older properties that are in a good condition. If you are purchasing a home that is a period property or is visibly deteriorated then it might not go into sufficient detail.
Building Survey – This is the most comprehensive report of the lot and will give you a ‘warts and all’ view of the property you are buying. This is the type of survey you should be considering if you are purchasing older, larger or non-traditional properties. Houses that have been extensively renovated or are in a particular poor condition will benefit from a building survey because it will cover a full breakdown of the fabric and condition of the property. This type of survey reaches the parts that other surveys don’t reach and that’s why it’s the flagship survey of the fleet!
In summary, not all surveys are the same. You get what you pay for and sometimes it can be a false economy to compromise on a cheaper option. At Marwood Surveyors we will always advise you on the best type of survey for your property so if you are currently purchasing a property in the Sutton Coldfield or Staffordshire area and need some professional advice then please do not hesitate to get in touch.