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Home Buyers Surveys: A Detailed Guide

Buying a property can feel overwhelming, especially with terms like 'home buyers survey' thrown into the mix. But don't worry, we're here to explain this crucial part of the home-buying process in simple terms. A home buyers survey is your safety net, an inspection of a property by a qualified surveyor before you finalise your purchase. It's designed to help you avoid any unpleasant surprises later on.

If you're about to step into property ownership, stay with us. We'll walk you through the details of home buyers surveys, so you're well-prepared for this essential step.


What is a Home Buyers Survey?

A home buyers survey is an evaluation of a property's condition conducted by a professional surveyor. Its main purpose is to protect you from hidden property issues.


Types of Home Buyers Surveys

There are two main types of home buyers surveys:

  1. RICS Level 2 Homebuyers Report: This is more detailed and focuses on visible issues such as dampness and subsidence.

  2. Full Building or Structural Survey: This is a more comprehensive inspection, delving into the property's structure in detail.


Differences Between Each Type of Survey

The RICS Level 2 report highlights visible defects, while a full building survey provides a thorough investigation of the property.


Why Do You Need a Home Buyers Survey?

A home buyers survey is vital for several reasons:

Identifying Potential Issues: It flags hidden problems like dampness, subsidence, or faulty wiring, helping you make an informed decision.

Negotiating Price Reductions: Survey findings can serve as leverage for negotiating a lower price.

Planning for Future Repairs: It offers an estimate of repair costs, aiding in budgeting for future expenses.


What is Included in a Home Buyers Survey?

A surveyor examines several aspects of the property:

Structural Inspections: Checking for stability issues, such as cracks and subsidence.

Assessing Damp and Timber Condition: Identifying damp problems, timber decay, and woodworm infestations.

Checking for Hazardous Materials: Ensuring the property is free from hazardous materials like asbestos.

Valuation Advice: Providing an evaluation of the property's market value to aid in price negotiations.

A property surveyor carrying out a home buyers survey

What Doesn't a Home Buyers Survey Cover?

While comprehensive, a home buyers survey does not include:

Specialist Investigations: Detailed inspections of electrical and gas systems.

Concealed Areas: Hidden cavities and unexposed grounds.

Ground Conditions: Potential flooding issues or soil quality.

Legal Aspects: Matters like rights of way or boundary disputes.


How to Arrange a Home Buyers Survey

Here's a step-by-step guide to arranging a home buyers survey:

  1. Getting a Quote: Visit a surveyor’s website and fill out the 'Get a Quote' form with your property details.

  2. Selecting a Qualified Surveyor: Choose an accredited professional, ideally from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

  3. Scheduling the Survey: Book a date for the survey, allowing 2-3 hours for the process.

  4. Preparing for the Survey: Ensure all areas of the property, including outbuildings and lofts, are accessible.


How Long Does a Home Buyers Survey Take?

Typically, a survey takes 2 to 4 hours, depending on the property’s size and complexity. Smaller properties might only need around 2 hours, while larger or older properties may require more time. After the survey, compiling and delivering the report can take 5 to 10 working days, so it's wise to schedule the survey well in advance of any decision-making deadlines.


Understanding the Survey Report

Understanding the technical language in a survey report can be challenging, but it's essential for making informed decisions. If your survey finds a problem, seek specialist advice to understand the implications.


Interpreting Findings

Consult the surveyor for clarification on any points.


Taking Action on Recommendations

Follow the surveyor's advice to ensure safe and cost-effective property ownership.


Using the Report in Negotiations

Use the report to negotiate the property price or request repairs before purchasing.


Is a Home Buyers Survey Worth It?

Examining the cost versus benefit, a home buyers survey is a worthwhile investment. It offers insights into the property's condition, helps negotiate repair costs, and can ultimately save you from unexpected future expenses.

While a mortgage valuation survey satisfies the lender, it doesn't provide the detailed information a home buyers survey does. Therefore, a home buyers survey is recommended for peace of mind and financial security.

In summary, a home buyers survey is a valuable tool in your property buying process. It ensures you know the condition of your potential new home, helps you negotiate better deals, and prepares you for future maintenance costs. Investing in a survey now can save you from significant headaches and expenses later on.


For help and advice in home buyers surveys and to arrange any inspection from an expert surveyor, get in touch with Midland Counties Surveyors today.

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