When you are buying a property your mortgage lender will request that a valuation to be carried out to ensure that they are happy to lend on it. This is a very basic report and is not to be confused with a survey, you are not tied to this report and can request to have it upgraded to a Home Buyers Report or a building survey at your own expense.
Below we give a brief description about each one including the benefits, what it contains and when it would be most suitable.
A Basic Mortgage Valuation is not to be confused with a proper home survey. It is instructed on your lenders behalf not yours ( However you may be the one who pays for it depending on which deals are available ). Its only purpose is to confirm that the house you wish to buy is worth roughly the amount that you are intending to pay for it.
Despite the fact that it is commonly referred to as a valuation survey it will not give you any real indication as to the condition of the property.
Some valuations are free and included as part of the lenders product however if there is a charge you the purchaser will be responsible for the payment.
All lenders will disclaim responsibility for the properties condition and you will not have any right to claim against anything that the surveyor failed to pick up.
A Home Buyers Report goes into much more detail than a basic mortgage valuation.
It will highlight potential problems such as subsidence and damp and will also include any relevant advice concerning repairs and highlight any repairs and any ongoing maintenance that may be necessary.
It will highlight any part of the building that does not comply with current property regulations.
It is a non-intrusive survey so the inspector will only be able to inspect surface level problems. He / She will not look behind furniture or under floor boards etc.
It will include rebuild costs ( incase of fire etc this is used for building insurance purposes ) and a market valuation.
It will take approximately 2- 4 hours depending on the size of the property.
A home buyers report is for your benefit not the lenders and its purpose is to inform you of the soundness of the property concerned. It will be more expensive than a basic valuation. If the inspector feels that any further investigation is necessary concerning any part of the building this will be stated on the report.
A Home Buyers Report could also offer you some limited recourse if the inspector who is acting on your behalf is deemed to have been negligent while inspecting the property.
A Home Buyers Report is the most common type of survey. However if you are buying an unusual, particularly old or a property that requires extensive renovation you may want to upgrade to a building survey.
This is the most thorough type of survey available, it will provide a complete analysis of the condition and the structure of the property.
It will list defects and advise on any repairs and maintenance that is deemed necessary.
It is an intrusive survey so the surveyor will check the attic and look under floor boards wherever necessary.
You can request that the report includes estimates of timings and anticipated costs for any repair work that is required.
A building survey is highly recommended for older properties or large unusual buildings. It will give you the right to recursive action against the surveyor if a defect in the property is subsequently discovered which is deemed to have been there when the original survey was carried out eg woodworm infestation or rising damp.
A building survey is highly recommended for unusual older properties and despite being more expensive than both a basic valuation and a homebuyers report it could save you thousands of pounds if it highlights a defect that you would otherwise not have noticed.