The home buying process involves many important elements, including conveyancing, mortgages and stamp duty. You also need to make sure that the home you are buying has no major unreported issues.

When buying a property with a mortgage, your lender will carry out a mortgage valuation. This allows them to assess how much the property is worth and take note of any issues which could affect its value in the future.

It’s a common misconception that a mortgage valuation report represents a survey. Relying on the information provided by this report can therefore leave you at risk.

In order to highlight any potential future problems in your property, you will need to commission an independent survey. While they aren’t compulsory, surveys can help buyers save a significant amount of money in repairs or when you come to sell the property.

Not all surveys are the same, however, and the one you need depends on both the type of property you are buying and the location.

With this in mind, we look at different types of home surveys and how much they cost.

Condition Report Condition Reports are the most basic type of survey, giving an overview of the property’s condition and highlighting significant issues without going into detail. This report takes up to two hours to complete and will likely cost you around £300.

Carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Condition Reports are suitable for those looking to buy newer properties and conventional homes that are in good condition and want to confirm that everything looks fine.

These reports use traffic light ratings to indicate the condition of different parts of the property. While it provides details of urgent faults and advice for legal advisors, you will not get a property valuation with a survey of this kind.

HomeBuyer Report The next step is a more detailed HomeBuyer Report, the most popular type of survey that is also carried out by a RICS surveyor. This report looks at everything that would be covered in a Condition Report, with added extras, and can take around two to four hours to complete.

A basic HomeBuyer Report will include a survey and will cost you a minimum of around £350. However, you can opt for one which includes a valuation and an insurance reinstatement value (an estimate of the payout you would receive should the property burn down). This option is likely to cost you around £450.

These inspections are ‘non-intrusive’, meaning the surveyor won’t look behind furniture or under floorboards and will only be able to identify ‘surface level’ issues. However, HomeBuyer Reports provide you with guidance on repairs and maintenance, details of issues which require attention,

any legal considerations and general information on the local area and the property’s energy efficiency.

These surveys are ideal for properties built within the last 100 years which appear to be in adequate condition.

Sava Home Condition Survey/Home Condition Survey You can also request a Sava Home Condition Survey or a Home Condition Survey from the Residential Property Surveyors Association. Both are provided by different surveying bodies and are similar to the RICS HomeBuyer Report.

The Sava Home Condition Survey includes photos to make the report easier to understand and highlights issues to follow up on before purchase. It also flags any legal questions your conveyancer should check for you. These don’t include a valuation, and costs vary.

Meanwhile, the Home Condition Survey includes practical information such as broadband speed, damp assessment and boundary issues for the conveyancer to consider. These reports can cost between £400-£900 depending on the value of the property.

Building Survey also known as a Structural Survey, a Building Survey is the most comprehensive type of report and could cost anything from £500 and £2,000, depending on the size or estimated value of your desired property.

Carried out by a RICS surveyor, this survey is more ‘intrusive’, which means the surveyor will cover every inch of the property, from the basement and the loft, to behind walls, under floorboards and above ceilings.

Building Surveys are highly likely to include a valuation and insurance reinstatement value unless specified. This type of inspection is essential if you’re buying a property that’s over 50 years old, of unusual design, or in poor condition.

What’s more, if you are planning to carry out significant renovation works after buying the property, this type of thorough survey is recommended.

While it may seem like another costly part of the moving process, identifying issues at the earliest possible opportunity can not only give you peace of mind but could save you thousands of pounds in the coming years. For guidance on buying or selling property across South East London, contact Key Property Consultants today. If you’re selling before you move, we also offer a free and instant online valuation so you can see how much your home could be worth on the current market.

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