The importance of a building survey or homebuyer report

For many people, buying a home is one of the biggest decisions they will ever make so it makes sense to have the property inspected by an independent expert. Unless you are totally confident in the condition and construction of your intended purchase, failing to commission a building survey or homebuyer report means you could risk potential bills running into thousands of pounds. Think for a minute – when you viewed, did you lift the inspection chamber lids to check the condition of the drainage?

Do I really need a house survey?

In difficult economic times it pays to be prepared. Nobody wants to be left with a home that needs extensive repairs, or one they can’t sell on. By having a survey you’ll be armed with information on the condition of the property. This puts you in a stronger position to decide whether to proceed with the purchase, or to negotiate a better deal.

By commissioning a building survey, any structural problems or urgent defects are highlighted, enabling the buyer to make an informed decision before committing to the property. We say that you are buying a home and we are inspecting a house – because we are not emotionally engaged in the property we can provide an independent assessment of its construction and condition enabling you to make an informed purchase.

Our most basic survey is a level 2 Homesurvey Report which is similar to a RICS HomeBuyer Report. It’s both simple and affordable. Designed for newer properties and conventional homes, it provides a clear report on the condition of the property, plus details of urgent faults and advice for legal advisers. It does not provide an additional valuation.

We would always recommend a full building survey on more expensive property, older properties, buildings with obvious defects and buildings that have been substantially altered or that you want to extend and later.

View more detailed explanations of these surveys and sample reports.

Why do I need a building survey if my mortgage provider does one?

A cause of confusion, especially for first time buyers, is the mortgage providers’ valuation survey. This is simply a basic inspection of a property to determine its value – you won’t find out if there are any underlying problems like damp, a leaky roof, or dodgy electrics. It is not a building survey or Homebuyer Report and in some circumstances the valuer will do this ‘survey’ from a desk, or by simply driving by.

Do I need a survey for a new-build?

In our experience we would always recommend a new-build is independently inspected. We regularly find all sorts of problems on new-build homes, usually snagging issues, but there have been more troublesome findings. You can read more about the importance of this in our article ‘Buying a new build – do I need a survey?’

Collier Stevens, Chartered Building Surveyors offer great value building surveys and homebuyer reports in Kent and London. Get in touch for a quote.