How homebuyers and brokers can ensure a dream house doesn’t become a nightmare
It’s hard to be impartial about a dream home
Buying a house is more than choosing a place to store belongings. It’s where you will live, bring up a family, invite friends to and fill with everything from family heirlooms to the nick-knacks you picked up on holiday.
As you walk around a property, you see your kitchen table next to the window, that your sofa matches the wallpaper and how the garden will be perfect for your children and the dog.
Can you honestly say you are also checking for damp under the bathroom sink or checking for signs of subsidence? A surveyor has no such emotional investment. They are there to make sure there is nothing present that will affect your enjoyment or financial stake in the property.
However, if there are any issues, it’s best to find out early so you can decide the best course of action.
Would you buy a car without taking a look under the bonnet?
A house is the most expensive purchase people make. It can be tempting to try and save money and a survey can be considered a luxury extra. Think about it this way:
If buying a house is like buying a car, the survey is the MOT. Would you buy a car with no MOT?
Here are three things to keep in mind when considering a survey:
A lender valuation is not for the homebuyer’s benefit
The purpose is to let them know if the property is worth what they are lending for the mortgage. It has nothing to do with the personal or financial safety of the homebuyer.
There is no guarantee serious defects will be revealed through other searches
With a number of conveyancing searches already carried out, homebuyers usually think that everything they need to know about a property will be exposed, but this is not the case.
A home survey can help you to renegotiate the price of the property
Should a survey reveal issues with the property, and the homebuyer wants to go ahead, they could use the survey to go back to the current owner and renegotiate the price.
Which survey is best?
Optimus offers two surveys, all carried out by RICS-qualified surveyors.
The Homebuyer Survey (also referred to as a RICS Survey Level 2)
The surveyor visits the property and conducts the survey on behalf of the homebuyer. The service includes a visual inspection of all major indoor features including:
Background information on the property and location
An estimate for the cost of rebuilding the property for insurance purpose
An assessment of any damp-proofing, drainage or insulation in the building. Drains are not tested
Condition of the building’s timbers
Damp test results taken from the walls
Details of urgent problems which should receive specialist attention before signing a contract
Details of major faults in easy to get to parts of the property that may affect its value
The report covers the most serious issues and those that affect property value. The building surveyor will also provide brief suggestions around repairs and maintenance.
Full Building Survey (also referred to as a RICS Survey Level 3)
This is a comprehensive assessment of the structure and condition of the property. Importantly, it includes a cost estimation of any necessary repairs. Any building type can be surveyed, including those not suitable for the Homebuyers Survey:
Buildings built before 1945
Properties that have been substantially altered or renovated
Key here is the level of assessment. Whereas the Homebuyer Survey is a visual inspection, the surveyor will check the property in much greater depth:
Most important and more insignificant defects and what they could mean
Results of tests for damp in the walls
Alterations to supporting walls
Renovations that have occurred without necessary planning permission
Presence of hazardous materials (e.g. asbestos)
Evidence of subsidence
Damage to masonry and roof
Damage to timbers
Large trees close to the property
The conditions of existing damp proofing, insulation and advice on non-tested drainage
Information on the materials used to build the property and any relevant technical information
Recommendations for further investigations on the property
At Optimus, we believe that impartiality is key. The homebuyer may find it difficult to be unemotional about a property that they really want to buy. The surveyor has no stake in whether or not someone goes ahead and buys a home. They are paid by the homebuyer to give them all the information they need about the structure and condition of the property and advise on potential dangers and costs. The surveyor is looking out for the homebuyer’s best interests. Not the lender, and not the seller, and not even the broker.
Our surveyors, like everyone at Optimus, are handpicked for their extensive reputation and high level of customer care. They know what they’re doing, and like us, they are on your side.
Buying a home is a long term investment, make sure you go into it with your eyes as wide open as your heart.
Get in touch and find out more by email or giving us a call on 0330 0366827