A home is one of the most expensive things you will ever buy, and is something most of us only do, at most, a few times in our lives, if ever. The process can be an emotional rollercoaster.
If you are struggling to make a decision about a survey, or are baffled by industry jargon, Prince Krofa & Sons have compiled a list of 10 things to consider when booking a survey, to make the process easier for you, and help you make the best decisions about your property.
Prince Krofa & Sons is regulated by the Royal Institution of Charted Surveyors (RICS), and specialises in private and public sector residential surveys, but also works in the charity, commercial, ecclesiastical and education sectors. While the list mainly focuses on homebuyers’ expectations, it is relevant to all of these.
1. IMPORTANT: A valuation is NOT a survey!
If you have already had what is called a “mortgage valuation”, this is NOT the same thing.
A mortgage valuation is, as the name suggests, for the benefit of a mortgage lender, helping them to decide whether to lend money against a property you are buying.
A survey goes deeper, identifying repairs and maintenance issues that could affect your future with a property.
2. Why book a survey?
According to a ComRes survey on behalf of RICS (2017), homebuyers spend an average of £5750 on repairs once they have moved into a new home. The majority of the time, this is down to a failure to get a proper survey done.
While you may be able to point out minor defects with a property, a building survey goes the extra mile, and can give more information about:
- Major and minor defects and what they could mean
- The possible cost of repairs
- Results of damp testing on walls
- Damage to timbers (woodworm / rot)
- The condition of damp-proofing, insulation, and drainage (though drains are not often tested)
- Technical information on the construction of the property and the materials used
- Recommendations for any further special inspections.
A survey is not compulsory, but is always recommended, and RICS believes them to be essential. They are useful, as they can put your mind at ease about a purchase or highlight problems that you may have found out the hard way in future without a survey, and provide you with an informed decision on your purchase.
3. Who is the survey for?
A survey is not just for buyers. If you own a building that provides a service, it may also be worth getting one done, particularly if you know the building a lot of defects, or, if you are selling your house, a survey report can help you to decide whether time and money should be invested making renovations, further boosting your selling price. Prince Krofa & Sons works in a variety of sectors and caters to all needs.
4. How much?
Although the cost should not be a driving factor, it is worth knowing that, depending on the type of survey, RICS suggest it could cost anywhere between £400 and £2000.
5. What type of survey do I need?
The important thing to note is that different buildings require different types of survey. These include:
Snagging report – Highlights mostly cosmetic defects like missing cupboard handles, tack marks and misaligned doors, only recommended for brand new builds or recently refurbished properties.
Specific Defect Survey – Aims to assess a particular problem with a property’s structure or condition. Ideally suitable if you believe that the rest of the property is sound, but you have concerns about one aspect. Common examples include cracking, damp, timber defects (rot or insect infestation) and roofing / chimney defects.
Condition report – Highlights a ‘matter-of-fact’ assessment and a summary of the condition of a property, but without any advice. This is based on a thorough visual inspection, but in this case, the scope is slightly reduced, and information is presented in a minimalist style and a straightforward ‘traffic light’ ratings. Formally as a Level 1 Survey.
Homebuyer report – Provides a detailed visual inspection of the property. This survey provides an account of the property’s condition and highlights significant problems with straightforward ‘traffic light’ ratings. It focuses on urgent or significant defects that may affect the value of the property. It is formally referred to as a Level 2 Survey. The RICS Homebuyer survey can now be offered with or without a valuation.
Building survey – Formally known as Structural survey, these are most in-depth, and are recommended for old, big, unusual, or listed properties, as well as those with planned or existing alterations. Costs more than the other RICS reports because it gives detailed information about the structure and fabric of the property, in addition to the straightforward ‘traffic light’ ratings. Also known as a Level 3 Survey.
You should speak to your surveyor for further advice on which survey is best for you.
6. Choosing a surveyor myself
Your estate agent may recommend you a surveyor. Before you appoint them, check they are RICS-regulated, either using their website or Homeowners Alliance, and that there is no conflict of interest with the estate agency.
Choose a surveyor based on quality and recommendations, rather than price. Prince Krofa & Sons has been RICS-regulated since its founding in 2014, and its employees have extensive experience elsewhere in the industry.
In addition, services may vary between surveyors. To make sure you are getting the services you require, go through their Terms of Engagement.
7. The advantages of choosing an RICS surveyor
RICS-affiliated surveyors are:
- High quality
Prince Krofa & Sons prides itself on working to the highest industry standards, is regulated to ensure you are protected, and will give you advice tailored to your individual circumstances. We have over 20 years’ experience in the surveying industry, and have dealt with a diverse array of clients, properties and needs.
You can arrange to speak to a surveyor direct, through localbuildingsurveyor.co.uk, or through an estate agent, mortgage broker or solicitor.
8. Where is my property?
Local knowhow is hugely important when deciding on a surveyor, and it is best to book a surveyor who knows about the cost and condition of similar properties nearby.
Prince Krofa & Sons is based in Bromley, and while we specialise in London and the South-East, our services extend to the Home Counties.
Many surveying companies will sub-contract surveys to employees from other companies who do not have this key local knowledge. We at Prince Krofa & Sons promise never to do this, as we endeavour to provide the same high-quality, well-planned service to all clients.
9. How do I get the most out of a survey?
A full survey will require access to every single area of the house, including lofts, cellars, garages, gardens, sheds, utility spaces, extensions and every other nook and cranny. This may require that the surveyor has additional keys and accessibility equipment, such as a ladder.
It is also up to the owner to make sure the property is tidy and safe enough to conduct a survey in.
Even if the surveyor does not mention them in their report, if you had any concerns about the property from viewings, you must communicate these with your surveyor, as they will know the best course of action.
10. What if the results are not what I wanted?
A building survey is designed to detect faults and potential maintenance issues, in order to give you the best possible impression of a property. However, do not be afraid to ask for clarification if anything is unclear. Where feasible, a surveyor may give you the option to accompany them on their inspection, in order to clarify the report further.
If the results show up extensive problems with the property, the surveyor will guide you through the process of putting them right. If you are not able to, or do not want to, take on this work yourself, you must ask the seller to take on this responsibility, or negotiate for the asking price to be reduced.
As was mentioned earlier, a survey of this nature is useful to identify work that needs to be taken and potential fluctuations in the price of a property, which could make you either more secure or prompt you to reconsider your purchase.
Prince Krofa & Sons understands the importance of an investment in property and is there to help protect it for all its clients.
Did we miss anything? Have you booked a survey before? What advice would you have for someone in that position? Let us know in the comments and remember you can find Prince Krofa & Sons on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.