Lots of buyers out there commission surveyors Scotland to carry out checks on a property before they purchase it. Rather worryingly, only around 25% of people who are purchasing a property take the time to commission a survey – which means that over 70% of people out there purchasing a property are going in “blind”. The main cause of this is confusion – buyers think that because a mortgage lender has commissioned a survey, there’s no need for them to commission one too. This couldn’t be further from the truth however.
In this article we’re going to look at the different types of home surveys that exist – we’re also going to look at why each different survey is so important. If you were planning on leaving the survey up to your mortgage lender it’s time to think again – make sure you can move into your new property with total peace of mind by having a building survey completed too.
Types of home surveys
Companies like HDG surveyors Scotland offer different types of home surveys – these include:
Mortgage valuation: This is the most common type of survey that virtually all home sales will involve. The mortgage valuation survey is commissioned by a bank or mortgage lender. It’s not really a thorough survey – in fact it barely scratches the surface. The mortgage valuation survey exists so that lenders can get a good idea of how much the property is worth – obviously they want to make sure the homeowner isn’t paying well over the odds for that particular property. Although this survey is organised by the lender, it’s you that has to pay for it. If you don’t pay for the survey up front in cash, the cost will probably be added to the sum you borrow for the mortgage. A mortgage valuation survey won’t look at things like subsidence which is a problem that a lot of properties face. Often, a mortgage valuation survey can be completed without even a visit to the property itself. It’s clear therefore that mortgage valuation surveys cannot be relied on to highlight any or all of the problems that a property might be suffering from.
Homebuyer’s report: This kind of survey is a lot more detailed than a mortgage valuation survey. It does include a valuation of the property itself but it also covers things in a lot more detail. If there’s a roofing repair that’s required on the property, you can be sure that it will be included in the homebuyer’s report. Any kind of work that’s required on a property will be found in a homebuyer’s report, which is helpful because it allows prospective buyers to get a rough idea for the cost of any repair works that are required. There’s nothing worse than moving into a property to find that there’s a long list of flaws with it. By having a homebuyer’s survey completed you’ll be able to get a good idea about what, if any, problems the property has. A homebuyer’s survey gives buyers leverage – if £10,000 worth of repairs are required they can present the homebuyer’s report to the seller to back up any offers below the asking price that they may make on the property. A homebuyer’s report is carried out by a member of RICS – the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. All homebuyer’s reports follow a predetermined, industry standard syntax.
Building survey: A building survey may also be known as a full structural survey by some people. This kind of survey is a lot more detailed than a homebuyer’s report – although a building survey isn’t usually needed on the majority of properties that are purchased. Building surveys tend to be reserved for older properties or properties that have experienced some kind of structural issues in the past. A building survey may also be carried out on a property if the buyer is planning a set of major renovations to a property – by having a building survey completed it’s possible to see whether the property will cope with the proposed changes. There’s no standard layout or report format for building surveys.
New building survey: Sometimes buyers of new properties will commission a new building survey. These surveys don’t tend to be too in depth – instead they are commissioned to ascertain whether all of finishing touches have been put to a newly built property, as per the agreements with the developer. As such, a new building survey will rarely go into a lot of detail about things like the structure of the property itself. They’re mainly there to ensure that developers haven’t cut any corners during the process of building and decorating the property.
Which survey do you need?
Different properties need different types of surveys. For example a newly built property is likely to need a new building survey as well as a valuation survey. The bank or mortgage lender will arrange the valuation survey, whilst it will be your responsibility to organise the new building survey. Although you don’t organise the valuation survey you will still need to foot the bill.
If you’re looking to move into an older property, or a property that has had a lot of building work completed on it (perhaps an extension or even a loft conversion), then it’s definitely worth looking into a homebuyer’s survey – or even a building survey for the best peace of mind. If you’re planning to do a lot of work on a property once you purchase it, it’s also a good idea to have an extensive survey completed prior to moving in just to ensure that the property is in good shape.
The majority of people out there however only really need to worry about having a homebuyer’s survey completed. If the property is less than 100 years old and hasn’t had much in the way of work completed on it, there’s no reason why it should need anything more in depth than a homebuyer’s report. If this report then shows up some serious problems with the property a building survey can be commissioned to put the buyer’s mind at ease.
It’s up to you which survey you have completed – if you want to be able to rest assured that the property is all in good shape, go for the most in depth survey on offer. If you’re happy just to roll with a homebuyer’s survey which comes back all clear, that’s fine too. Don’t however be one of those people who goes ahead with the purchase of a property with only a mortgage valuation survey in place – these surveys are really only there to ascertain a rough value of the property and they are not designed to show up major issues that properties may have.
Finding surveyors Scotland
If you’re currently looking to purchase a property and you need a surveyor to give it the once over, we’re going to look at some top advice under this section to ensure that you come up trumps in your search. Remember most lenders out there will appoint a surveyor for a mortgage valuation – but if you’re looking for a building survey, a homebuyer’s report or a new building survey, you will definitely need to find a reliable surveyor yourself.
Here are five top tips to bear in mind when it comes to finding surveyors Scotland:
- Referrals and recommendations are great: If a friend or family member moved house recently and they can recommend a reliable surveyor, why not go with their suggestion? Open any phonebook and you’ll find lots of adverts for surveyors Scotland – but how do you know who to trust, or who’s going to do a great job? The answer is that you’ll never know until you hire a certain surveyor. By going on the recommendation of a family member or friend you can avoid wasting time with a surveyor who’s not really up to the job.
- Use online reviews: If you don’t have the recommendation of a family member or friend to work from, you can always look at online review websites when working out which surveyor to go with. It’s always good to see what previous clients have said about a surveyor before you go ahead and use them – a few minutes spent reading online reviews could save a lot of hassle later on.
- Get multiple quotes: Whether you’re looking for the services of a surveyor, or you’re looking for home insurance – it’s important for you to get multiple quotes to ensure that you get the very best deal. The only way in which you’re guaranteed to get a great deal when buying things in life is to shop around. You will find that lots of surveyors Scotland charge varying rates – so don’t find yourself paying through the nose, get multiple quotes. Different people will tell you to get different numbers of quotes – we recommend getting at least three. Once you’ve got three quotes you can look to see what the average figure is. If the figures do vary wildly you can always get some more! The best way to ensure that you pay a fair price is to see how much other companies are charging. The final thing to remember is that at no time should you compromise the quality of the survey that you get by picking the very cheapest provider who may not be qualified to give an opinion. It’s all about paying a fair price whilst receiving a reliable opinion.
- Check your surveyor is a member of the RICS: Before commissioning a surveyor to conduct a homebuyer’s report, you need to make sure that they are a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). If they aren’t a member of this organisation their opinion isn’t worth the paper that it’s written on. In order to become a member of the RICS individuals have to demonstrate various attributes and skills – they also have to know exactly what format homebuyer’s reports should be laid out in so that they conform with the industry standard.
- Don’t bury your head in the sand: Let’s say you commission a homebuyer’s report, or a building survey – that survey then comes back saying that the property in question has a whole load of different issues that you will have to pay to put right. It’s important that you don’t overlook these problems due to a love of the property in question – burying your head in the sand and going ahead with the purchase anyway is not the right thing to do and it will only cost you a lot of money in the long run. What you can do if a house has a lot of problems is to get some kind of repair estimate, then use that sum to make an offer. If the cost of repairs is likely to run into a sum of around £10,000, you should take £10,000 off of your offer price. If you can back this below asking price offer up with the homebuyer’s report, there’s no reason why the seller shouldn’t be receptive to it. The only thing to bear in mind when taking on a property in the knowledge that it has flaws is that you’ll need to dedicate time and effort to hiring contractors to put those flaws right. If that’s fine with you, there’s no reason not to proceed with the purchase.
It’s clear that the world of surveying is a confusing one – but if you read and take in the advice that we’ve laid out for you in this article, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to make a decision on the type of survey that you’re going to have completed.
We’ve already looked at the figures – only around 25% of buyers bother with a survey beyond the valuation report. This is obviously a huge mistake because there’s never any telling what’s wrong with a property when you scratch beneath the surface. Before you make an offer and move into a new property it’s very important to get in touch with surveyors Scotland so that you can get an expert opinion as to what kind of condition the property is in.