House valuations and surveys

House valuations and surveys

When you are buying a house there will be people advising you to ‘get it valued’ and ‘have a survey done’. But is it really necessary? After all, you know it’s going to cost you more money and you are desperately trying to keeps costs down as you juggle your finances to make the best of one of life’s most important purchases.

Right, then. Hands up first of all. Yes, surveys are expensive. And, having had to pay for a basic valuation from your lender you may think any further examination of the property is a waste of time as well as money. After all, you’ve had a good look round, and there does not seem to be anything amiss. However, you are not trained to spot problems, are you? Surveyors are. So, while a survey might cost what, to you, seems an awful lot of money there and then, it could be well worth it in the long term.

Just think, for example, if some major fault was discovered after you had bought the house and moved in and it cost you thousands of pounds. You would no doubt wish you had paid out far less for a survey beforehand. Another thing, if a survey did discover faults on a large scale it would put you in a good bargaining position to re-adjust the price you were being asked to pay for the property – or it might persuade you to look somewhere else. If, on the other hand, the surveyor did not point faults which pose problems later on you might very well be able to claim compensation.

So we would suggest that for such a huge investment as this it is, in fact, worth paying a few hundreds of pounds for a survey, not only for peace of mind, but also as an insurance that you will not have to raid the bank to pay for a cure to problems which may otherwise arise later on.

What, then, does a survey entail?
It depends which type of survey you have done. First of all there is the homebuyer’s report which covers structural safety and highlights any problems, as well as pointing out anything that does not meet existing building regulations.
It takes only a little time – up to four hours – and it gives an independent and expert view of the property’s value.

A building survey is for older properties and those of non-standard construction, and this takes rather longer – usually a full day, depending on the size of the property. It gives a detailed report in the condition of the property and highlights any problems. Be aware that it does not include a valuation.

A home condition survey tells you about the condition of the property, any problems, and what the rebuild cost would be for insurance purposes. Again, it does not include a valuation.

Finally, there is the new-build snagging survey, which specialises in new homes and is designed to pin-point shoddy
workmanship. Your independent inspector would also arrange for the developer to sort out any defects.

So much for surveys. What about valuations?
You will have to pay for a mortgage valuation in order to secure a mortgage. It confirms to the lender that the property is worth at least what it is lending to you. It is not its responsibility, however, to point out any repairs that need doing. The mortgage lender can carry out an independent survey for you when it does the valuation, but you will have to pay extra for this.

If you decide to commission a Home Buyer Report you should bear in mind that it will usually also include a valuation, but you would have to check that with your surveyor. That’s settled, then. You need a surveyor. So how do you go about finding one? Simple. We provide you with a comprehensive list, with full contact details, of surveyors covering your area and, where possible, we will supply you with a list of initial estimates. You can contact each of them directly, but we will also forward your details to them so that they can contact you.

All you have to do is fill in a simple, customer-friendly form and away you go. It takes only a moment to access the list of surveyors and you can start to compare prices and service immediately. If you decide to go ahead with one of them you can contact them directly. However, a word of warning. Before selecting a surveyor do please make sure that they have the necessary accreditation, experience and insurance.

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