What is a Homebuyers’ Survey, and What can it Do for You when You Buy Property?

If you decide to buy a house or property, you’ll need to get a survey done – it’s in your own advantage, and it may be required by third parties as well. However, there are different kinds of surveys out there, and each has its own price tag and gives you different kinds of reports. So which one is best for you, and how do you choose?

In essence, there are three kinds of surveys to choose from: the mortgage valuation, the homebuyers’ survey, and the structural survey. The second one is often the most suitable for people or families who are planning to buy a new home. But what exactly is a homebuyers’ survey, and what can it do for you when you buy property?

Why go beyond the mortgage valuation?

The mortgage valuation is just what it says: it’s an evaluation made of the property for the purposes of estimating a value – usually the mortgage lender will demand such a survey to be done to assure themselves that the loan or mortgage (the investment) is justified. However, the report is often inaccurate in that it deals with rough estimates, and provides very little detail. One in five families rely solely on the mortgage valuation, and many of them are then hit with large bills within the first year of moving in because of refurbishing, remodeling, and urgent repairs.

The homebuyers’ survey

The homebuyers’ survey offers a much more detailed report and allows the reader to have a more accurate estimate of what the property is worth, and what needs to be repaired or checked. There are different kinds:

  • The RICS condition report – it’s a very basic report (and honestly, you should be able to do better). It’s basically a report that gives a ‘traffic light’ rating (red, yellow, green), and offers very few details. It should cost about £250.
  • The RICS homebuyer report – This kind of survey starts at the £400 range, but offers more detail about the property. Structural problems and issues such as damp are noted down, as well as other issues that may present a problem in the future.
  • The home condition survey – The typical cost is around £500. It also uses a three-category rating, but includes more information; it usually includes advice on how to deal with some common issues and potential problems that have come to light.

A simple report that gives you a rough value and then rates the home under 3 categories (such as the mortgage valuation) is not sufficient for a buyer. In order to know what you’re getting into, you need as much information as possible. The homebuyer survey is the way to go, as surveyors Chelmsford from Chekes will agree – it will allow you to sleep much better at night and have better peace of mind.