How to identify which survey you need

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Buying a house is usually the largest investment you make in your lifetime, so arranging a survey of the property in question makes a great deal of sense. You wouldn’t buy stocks and shares without consulting an expert or buy a car without doing in-depth research, so commissioning the right survey of a property is the logical course of action.

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It is the buyer’s responsibility to seek a survey and it is important to be aware that the mortgage valuation is not a comprehensive survey. The mortgage valuation will be undertaken by your lender to ensure the property covers their loan rather than your investment, although you will have to pay for it.

Which survey is needed?

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors is a good starting point when it comes to deciding which survey you need as a buyer and which conveyancer to use; for example, if you are searching for a property in the Midlands and decide that you need a home buyers survey Nottingham, you will find options such as Sam Conveyancing.

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There are a number of options when it comes to surveys, with differences both in terms of the cost and how comprehensive they are.

The most basic survey is a condition report, which provides ‘traffic light’ indicators for various aspects of the property. Although it summarises the defects and possible risks, it does not provide a valuation of any advice.

You might wish to opt for one of the level two surveys, the first of which is a homebuyers survey. This will identify any obvious major problems; however, as it is non-intrusive, the information it will provide is limited.

Professional assessment

The upgrade from this is a homebuyers survey and valuation, which comprises a professional assessment of the value of the property in addition to the aspects outlined above.

Finally, the level three survey is ideal for older properties. This survey examines the structure and fabric of the building in depth, including concealed areas, the delivery of services, and the grounds. Materials and the type of construction will be covered here, as will the potential costs of any remedial treatment that may be needed.

As a buyer, it is in your best interest to ensure you have as much information about the property as possible to enable you to make an informed decision as to whether to proceed with the purchase.