Homebuyer Survey or Building Survey - What do I need?
13 June 2013
People buying houses often make the mistake of thinking a mortgage survey is more in depth than it actually is, and can be left wondering why certain issues were not mentioned when they later move in to their home.
In fact, all a mortgage survey does is make sure a property really is worth what you want to borrow for it. It will not discover or report any issues with the property.
In order to assess the condition of properties when buying houses, you will need to have either a Homebuyer Survey or a Building Survey completed. Which one should you choose when buying a house?
A Homebuyer Survey is midway between a mortgage valuation and a building survey. Older buildings may have more issues, so a homebuyer survey is only recommended on modern properties.
The Homebuyer Survey will inspect all the major features of the property, such as the walls, bathrooms and the roof. It will rate these areas depending upon their condition, so you can see major problems that need to be fixed straight away.
The report will also include an inspection of the visible parts of the drainage and heating systems, as well as utilities services, and will give you a valuation of the property.
The Building Survey is the most comprehensive survey a homebuyer can have on a property.
The Building Survey will highlight both major and minor faults in the property, estimate the costs for rectifying these issues, test the walls for damp, the woodwork for signs of damp or woodworm, and investigate any existing damp proofing, insulation and drainage to assess its condition (note that drains will not be tested).
A Building Survey can be used to identify how feasible it would be to add any extensions that you may be considering.
A Building Survey will cost a lot of money, but if there are major issues in the property you want to buy, it could save you much more in the long run.
Which do I need?
When it comes to buying houses, the type of survey you require will depend upon the type of property you are buying. A Homebuyer Survey can give you a moderately detailed overview of the condition of a modern building, identifying major issues, and providing a valuation. The surveyors will only be checking for visible faults, so they won’t do things such as examine under the floorboards, or test the walls for further problems.
For total peace of mind and an accurate picture of the condition of an older property, a Building Survey is the best option. Where a Homebuyer Survey is more standard, a Building Survey can be tailored; you can ask the surveyor to look for certain things, and tell them not to bother with other areas (testing a wall that you plan to demolish anyway).