6 Jan 2012

Posted by in Buying a New House | 0 Comments

Understanding The Survey Types Carried Out By Chartered Surveyors

The process of purchasing a home in the UK can prove to be a complicated matter and leave many inexperienced buyers confused.  One area that especially causes problems centres on the surveys that are involved in order to facilitate the purchase to go through.  Below is a list of the different survey types that chartered surveyors most commonly provide and a brief explanation of each one, to help clear away some of the confusion.

Mortgage Valuation

The purpose of a mortgage valuation is to give the Lender confidence that the property is worth the amount of money being loaned to the Borrower.  This is to ensure that they will be able to sell the property and recoup the amount loaned should you default on your mortgage repayments.  These valuations tend to be just a very brief inspection that the valuation is appropriate.

Homebuyer Survey and Valuation

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have produced the Homebuyer Survey and Valuation report.  The purpose is to provide prospective buyers with a standardised document that details basic information on the property, including general condition and type of construction, market value etc.

Old cottage in Galway Bay IrelandMajor Defects Report

This report is similar to the building survey and homebuyer survey, with the detail in it falling somewhere between the two.  A Major Defects Report is usually appropriate where the building is older or listed and will be done instead of a homebuyer report to give a little more assurance.

Building Survey

This entails a more detailed inspection and report of a property and can be designed to cover specific needs of the client, such as services or environmental aspects.  These needs will be agreed in the Conditions of Engagement before the survey begins.  The survey will include guidance on specific defects and the likely cost of repairs.  A Building can be carried out on any property, however it is more commonly used when considering the purchase of old or listed buildings, flats and commercial properties.

Onsite Acquisition Advice

This is very much the same as a building survey in terms of the detail, however it is reported verbally as opposed to in writing.  The chartered surveyor will spend several hours if not the whole day with the prospective buyer advising on the most important considerations.  The fact that the report is verbal and there is no administration time involved to write a report means that Onsite Acquisition Advice can be obtained very competitively.

Photographic Inspection Advice

Very similar to Acquisition advice, but this time the buyer doesn’t accompany the chartered surveyor.  Instead the report is given via a disc of photographs that they surveyor takes in his inspection.  Photos may be indexed with a brief description of each feature and any issues that may be of concern.  A conversation can then take place between the two parties which goes into more depth.  The typical number of photos in such a report is around 250 and they have become increasingly popular in recent years with the improvements made in digital photography.

Buildings Replacement Insurance Valuation

This concentrates on how much it would cost the repair a building in the event of a disaster, which is not the same as the cost of building the property or its market value.  As part of the building surveyors listed in this article, it is commonplace for a surveyor to provide a building replacement valuation, as required for the purchaser’s insurance on the building.  It is wise to keep this valuation updated as the valuation is only valid for 5 years.  Failure to keep it updated can result in insurance cover that is inadequate.

Single Fault Assessment

This kind of report can be undertaken when there is a problem identified with a building.  It can be done prior to or just after a property is purchased.  However, it is more common for such a report to be carried out when the building has been under the same occupancy for many years.  The report will help to analyse the problem and also identify the cause.  It will also detail the best way to remedy the problem and the costs involved.  A letter report may need to be prepared for insurance companies where appropriate.

Rikky James is an owner of several residential properties in the York area of England, which he rents out.  Rikky always seeks the guidance of a trusted surveyor York before making on offer. 

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