Why You Need A RICS Building Survey Before Buying a House
13 April 2017
A building survey, also known as a structural survey, is the most thorough, in-depth, and detailed property survey and reports on the current condition of a property, including all major and minor faults, defects, and their subsequent implications. A building survey should be carried out by a RICS Chartered Surveyor, as as the world’s leading professional body of surveyors, they have the skills and expertise to comprehensively carry out the survey.
A building survey can be carried out on all properties, but if your property is listed, non-standard, unusual, old, altered or dilapidated, it is highly recommended that you have a building survey carried out. If you are planning on carrying out work such as an extension, renovation or alterations to the property, you should have a building survey to understand the extent of the work, how it will affect the property, and whether this is feasible.
When surveying your property, a surveyor will inspect damp proofing, insulation, drainage, walls, ceilings, woodwork, frames, the loft, roof, tiles, windows, central heating and electrics to uncover all hidden defects such as rot and subsidence. The survey will also detail the technical details of the property, such as how it is constructed, the materials used, fabric, condition, and structure. A surveyor can run through any difficult terms or queries you have about the report.
The building survey identifies all defects of the property and the consequences of ignoring the repairs. The report will also notify you of the estimated cost and timings to repair the defects, allowing you to budget for repairs. The survey advises on how to carry out repairs and the maintenance options available. It will detail potential defects that could occur so you can be prepared and understand how this will impact costs further down the line.
A building survey is the most expensive survey but is cost-effective over the long term. One homeowner states, ‘If I'd taken a full survey I could have avoided a £30k bill for dry rot’. A building survey can cost between £500-£2000 depending on the size and value of the property, but this is worth it to prevent possible costly defects and surprises further down the line.
Likewise, RICS states ‘without a survey you are setting yourself up for £5,750 (on average) of repair costs’. A house is a big investment, and a building survey will give you peace of mind if you have any worries about the property or are unsure of its condition. This will allow you to know exactly what you are investing into and can make an informed decision on your purchase. This information is indispensable in determining whether to continue with the purchase of a property.
What’s more, a building survey is important as it allows you to negotiate the price of a property by comparing details of repairs with the lender’s valuation of the property. If the price of repairs costs £5,000, you can negotiate £5,000 off the asking price or ask the seller to fix the issues before the sale is completed. A building survey is so cost-effective as it makes sure you’re making a sound investment and won’t lose money in the long run.
Book a building survey today to save money, assess repairs that may need to be carried out, and truly understand the property you want to purchase.