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Property Surveys: A Comprehensive Guide For Homebuyers

Buying a property, selling a property or moving home can be an exciting endeavour. But, making sure that your property transaction is secure is extremely important. Property surveys are an essential part of property transactions, and they highlight any undetected damages or hidden faults before your transaction goes through. Our complete guide to property surveys is here to help you understand what they entail, and how they can benefit a buyer or seller. To learn more about how a property survey can assist you during your house transaction, keep on reading!


What Are Property Surveys?  


Property surveys are surveys carried out by licensed professionals when action is being taken on a property. Whether a property is being constructed, bought, sold or torn down, a property survey is typically carried out. The survey is there to assess what repairs (if any) are needed, and highlight structural faults. Other issues such as damp or possible areas that need rebuilding will also be reported. 


Property surveys are not a legal requirement if you don't need a mortgage, but they are recommended, as they can give you further information regarding the property. Just because the surveys are optional, doesn't mean you should go without one! The last thing you need is a nasty surprise or unexpected costs during a property transaction, and a property survey can help you avoid this. 



Who Organises A Property Survey? 

On the whole, the buyer will typically arrange for a survey to be carried out after their offer has been accepted by the seller. The survey will then report to the buyer about the state that the house is in, and any potential repairs that need to be made, or possible risks. If you're a buyer looking into a property survey, you should always use a registered surveyor who belongs to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA).


Types Of Property Survey 

There are a range of different property surveys out there. Read below to learn about the key types of surveys that you may need to consider. 


Level 1 Survey


The Level 1 survey, also known as the Condition Report, is the most basic property survey. It looks at the property's overall condition, but doesn't go into much detail. Any significant issues, risks or urgent defects will be reported, and an overview of the property will be given. A Level 1 survey is good for standard modern properties, as well as new homes that seem to be in pretty good condition.


 Level 2 Survey 


A home survey Level 2 was previously known as a Homebuyer Report, and is a more detailed survey than a Level 1 survey, but not as comprehensive as a Level 3 survey. A Level 2 survey is appropriate for the majority of modern, conventional properties, and properties in reasonable condition under 50 years old. The Level 2 survey will go into more detail regarding the background information of the property and other information that may be useful to buyers. 


Level 3 Survey 


A Level 3 survey is also known as a Building Survey, or Structural Survey. This house inspection is the most comprehensive survey that can be carried out on residential properties, giving an in-depth report of the building. A Level 3 survey can be carried out on any type of property, but they're usually more suited to bigger homes or unusual properties that are over 50 years old. These surveys are also the most expensive surveys, but they can end up saving you thousands if you're able to identify and fix any detrimental damages. 


Snagging Survey


A Snagging survey is another key type of survey that you should be aware of, and they are carried out to help buyers find problems with new builds. These issues could range from aesthetic problems to significant structural problems. A snagging survey is a visual survey that checks the quality of workmanship and the standards of new builds. From interiors to driveways and garages, this inspection will cover the entire property carefully. 



Do I Need A Property Survey Before I Buy A House? 


While a property survey isn’t a legal requirement, you may be thinking you don’t really need one! However, a property inspection can actually be a great way to protect your investment and keep yourself safe. Read below to understand some of the risks associated with not having a property survey carried out. 


Hidden Defects 


Hidden defects on your property can cause serious problems. From cracks in the foundations and uneven floors to missing tiles and roof leaks, there are a range of important issues that need to be checked before you move into a property. Damp and mould are also serious issues that need to be addressed during a survey, and they pose a health risk to anyone moving into the property. These hidden defects may not be visible in visual inspections, such as Level 1 surveys, which is why more thorough inspections are sometimes required. This is to make the buyer aware of any potential issues prior to their purchase. 


Financial Risks 


Skipping on a property survey can also lead to unexpected financial problems later down the line. The most common financial problem caused by skipping a survey is unexpected repair costs. From electrical rewiring to plumbing and structural repairs, these fixes can end up being extremely costly. They may result in you overspending on your budget for the home, and having to make immediate payments, which can be financially stressful. 


Not only can immediate repairs be tricky, but failing to have a property survey carried out can also decrease your property value. Unaddressed issues like damp, mould or structural issues can impact your ability to sell your home in the future, and decrease its value. 


Safety Concerns 


Safety is another big concern when it comes to property surveys. By having these surveys carried out, hidden defects that could potentially be hazardous are made aware to both the buyer and seller. These surveys allow the buyers to make informed choices going forward, as they are made aware of any potential safety concerns. Safety is the number one priority when moving into a home, so any structural, physical or electrical hazards need to be clearly outlined to potential buyers. 


Insurance & Legal Compliance


Last, but certainly not least, not having a survey can be detrimental to your ability to claim insurance, and can even lead to legal complications. Claiming for damage compensation when you haven't had a property survey can make things a lot more difficult. Insurance companies will most likely ask for proof that the property was surveyed before you made your claim, so that they can put your claim through, however if you haven't had a survey, you may not be able to get any compensation. As a buyer, you may have to front the costs of these repairs, which could have been dealt with through insurance, if a survey was carried out. 


Viking Surveyors: Professional Property Inspections 


Buying your first home, or any home is an exciting transition for anyone, and you want to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. By having a property survey carried out, you are protecting yourself and keeping your transaction secure. The last thing you need is unexpected damage and structural issues preventing you from moving into your home, or hindering the process. Here at Viking Surveyors, we understand how important a property transaction is, which is why our property surveys are carried out by RICS qualified surveyors.


Not sure what kind of survey you need? Don't worry. Our surveyors can help you find the right survey for your property. All of our surveyors will carry out your property survey with the utmost care and attention to detail. To learn more, feel free to contact us today to speak to our team!. 




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