Which type of survey is right for you?

When you’re in the process of buying a property, there’s an endless list of tasks and processes you need to think about. So to take one less worry off your hands, here’s everything you need to know about different kinds of surveys – and which one might be right for you.

Do I really need a survey?

If you’re planning to buy a new build complete with NHBC (National House Building Council) 10-year guarantee, it’s not likely you’ll need a survey. Similarly, if you’re moving into a near-new property with a couple of years guarantee remaining, you probably won’t need a survey either. For other types of properties, however, the safe and recommended option is to get an independent, professional opinion before you commit to any purchase.

Who is qualified to do a complete a building survey?

The obvious choice is a building surveyor who is also a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Institution demands very high standards and complete integrity of its members, which is reflected in its guidance and procedures for every type of survey. You can learn more about RICS here.

What are the different kinds of surveys?

Mortgage valuation surveys

This is commissioned by your lender to assess whether their money is safe when, in the event of default repayments, the repossessed value of the property covers the initial loan amount. Do not assume that everything is structurally sound with your property because your lender has approved the mortgage. That is not the case.

RICS Building Survey Level 1

Otherwise known as a Condition Report, the RICS Building Survey Level 1 is the most basic form of a survey. Rather than reporting on the condition of every element, the report is designed to give a general impression, whilst at the same time highlighting any visible defects, details of any urgent repairs, warning of any safety issues needing attention, and if there are areas of uncertainty.

RICS Building Survey Level 2

The RICS Building Survey Level 2 (HomeBuyer Report) provides a detailed description of the property. It looks at external and internal condition, services and utilities, and gives condition ratings for every different elements. As part of the survey’s conclusions, repairs or maintenance needed will be listed (with likely costs involved, if requested), and further investigation may be recommended for areas that could not be checked without intrusive or destructive testing.

RICS Building Survey Level 3

This type of survey includes everything you’d get with a Level 2 alternative, but with more intrusive investigation. As part of your survey, your surveyor may lift floorboards, make holes in walls, or crawl into loft recesses to get a clear picture of otherwise inaccessible elements. As the most detailed, the RICS Building Survey Level 3 generally costs more than all the others, especially if re-instatement is needed to repair damage caused by the destructive testing.

If you have any questions about different types of survey, get in touch by calling 01273 031646. We’d be glad to help.