A guide to getting a home survey in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire. A county renowned for the Cotswolds, the Forest of Dean and the beautiful Wye Valley. Stone buildings cover the rolling hills, giving the ancient landscape a unique appearance that subtly interweaves human settlements with lush nature.
Despite its lower population count (around 637,000-or-so inhabitants), the county is a very desirable place to live. The property market continues to grow, as it does across the UK as a whole.
According to Rightmove, the average Gloucestershire property went for around £350,000 over the past 12 months. Most sales were of semi-detached houses, averaging about £315,000, while detached homes were more expensive, fetching approximately £510,000. The priciest location was Chipping Camden, and the area with the lowest average cost was Cinderford. These numbers are still far above the national average and holding up well.
Popular picturesque locations like Bourton-on-the-Water, Tewkesbury, Stroud, Stow-on-the-Wold and Gloucester itself continued to be popular with homebuyers as well as tourists. In fact, Rightmove also reported that house prices rose by an incredible 34% in Stow-on-the-Wold.
If you’re considering a move to this county, or perhaps moving house within it, then this page might be for you. This blog post contains our guide to getting a home survey in Gloucestershire.
Why is a home survey important in Gloucestershire?
Gloucestershire is an ancient county. People have lived in this area since long before the Romans arrived. Until the 1500s, the mines around the forest were England’s main iron supply. The Wye and its many tributaries gave rise to mills that drove the wool trade from Cotswold sheep. At the same time, an abundance of clay and stone meant that the construction materials industries took off in brick and tile. Of course, forestry has always been a major part of the area’s economy, and farming and agriculture continue to be critical to the country.
Here are a few issues we sometimes come across, specifically in Gloucestershire:
- Old historic buildings – when it comes to older houses, built centuries ago, there’s an inherent risk that they were constructed to dated standards and may have degraded in the years since.
- Converted houses – many industrial properties in Gloucestershire have had their use changed. Barn conversions are particularly popular, harking to the agricultural industry. These homes always carry the risk of improper past construction work.
- Subsidence – subsidence is more prone in clay-rich areas, such as Stroud and the broader Cotswolds area. This comes from the clay shrinking and expanding as it absorbs water through the seasons.
- Mines – houses built above old mining areas can also find the ground sinking beneath them. There can also be problems with drains, although rarely.
How a chartered surveyor fits into the homebuying process
Follow these simple steps if you’re thinking of moving house within (or to) the Gloucestershire area:
- Conduct your own research into any property before submitting an offer. Of course, this includes organising a viewing.
- Submit your initial offer (this isn’t a legally binding contract, by any means).
- If the seller accepts this offer, instruct a RICS chartered surveyor to complete a home inspection.
- The chartered surveyor will survey the property according to the type you order.
- Within a week or two, you can expect their detailed report, presenting their findings in a professional legal document.
- This report may influence how you proceed – to stay as you are, reduce your offer, or even withdraw from the purchase.
When you start this process, look for RICS chartered surveyors in the Gloucestershire area. Having a knowledge of the local area is particularly important. You’ll find that these surveyors are more likely to spot the common problems we often see in this part of the country.
They’ll also have a deeper understanding of the ins and outs of the local property market, which could mean RICS valuations are that tiny bit more accurate.
If you end up not buying a house but are keen to put an offer on another within Gloucestershire, you could instruct the same chartered surveyor, provided you’re happy with your first experience. They know what you’re looking for already and hopefully already have a good relationship with you as a client. That’ll save you some time and give you a little dose of extra confidence.
How to instruct a chartered surveyor
Following the steps listed above, here’s how to instruct a RICS chartered surveyor.
- As mentioned, find a surveyor local to Gloucestershire. They should regularly survey houses in the county (feel free to ask them about their experience in the region).
- It never hurts to do some external background checks. For example, use this tool to ensure your chartered surveyor is RICS qualified. Make sure to select ‘United Kingdom’. You could also check for reviews and testimonials on the surveyor’s website and externally.
- Ask for a quote. These should always be obligation-free. You shouldn’t ever be coerced into committing to something before you know what you’re paying.
- Once you’re satisfied, it’s time to ‘instruct the chartered surveyor. You’ll need to provide a few legal details, of course.
- Next, the surveyor will organise an appropriate date and time with the seller. Naturally, they won’t be rude or overly pushy towards the current occupant. Still, they’ll do their best to carry the inspection out as soon as possible. It’s usually within a few working days or a couple of weeks.
- The RICS surveyor will then head to the Gloucestershire home and carry out the survey.
- Expect to receive a detailed inspection report within a couple of weeks. At GB Home Surveys, we always try to get it back to you within seven days. You should receive the document in a face-to-face meeting (although the Covid epidemic might change this over to video conferencing).
- Once you receive the home survey report, that doesn’t mean your time with the RICS surveyor is over. You’ll still be able to contact them with various questions as you proceed with the purchase.
- We’d always recommend keeping your home survey for a few years, just in case you need it again. You should receive a pdf copy, meaning you can simply save it digitally, so it doesn’t take up any space.
What type of home survey should I get in Gloucestershire?
The type of home survey you should get in Gloucestershire depends on the property you’re looking at.
There are three levels of RICS home surveys.
- RICS Valuation (Level 1)– how much is the home worth?
- RICS Home Survey Level 2– what’s the home’s condition?
- RICS Home Survey Level 3– how’s the home’s structural integrity?
A RICS Valuation is a simple evaluation of what the house is worth in the current market. They’re generally used for reassurance for buyers and sometimes provided to loan companies alongside applications. Use a Valuation to check what a Gloucestershire house is worth compared to its neighbours and ensure you’re paying a reasonable market rate for it.
A Home Survey Level 2 is generally appropriate for newer houses built using conventional materials and methods. Their younger ages mean they typically have fewer problems, provided they’ve been well maintained. Standard red brick houses on newer Gloucestershire estates and developments (within the past 40 or 50 years) are usually most appropriate for a Home Survey Level 2.
In Gloucestershire, a Home Survey Level 3 can often be appropriate, as there are so many historic buildings, barn conversions, cottages, and more. With these properties, it’s pretty crucial to know the condition of the hidden structural elements. They cost a little more than a Valuation or a Home Survey Level 2, but the homes are generally more expensive. This means that although the surveys are pricier, they mitigate a greater risk.
If you’re unsure which type of RICS home survey is right for you, don’t be afraid to speak to your chartered surveyor. They’ll be happy to help and should always recommend the one that’s right for you.
As a general rule, a Home Survey Level 2 is generally most appropriate for most Gloucestershire homes. Buying a more unconventional home? A Level 3 is the way to go.
GB Home Surveys – RICS chartered surveyors in Gloucestershire
Whether it’s the bustling market town of Tewkesbury or the quaint little village of Bibury, the historic Upper and Lower Slaughters or the busy cities of Gloucester or Cheltenham, Gloucestershire might be the place for you. Of course, the county also contains Stroud, named as “the best place to live in the UK in 2021” by The Sunday Times.
At GB Home Surveys, we’re proud to help people from all backgrounds to buy, sell or invest in property. We’ve been working in Gloucestershire for some time now and have helped hundreds of customers successfully exchange houses.
We’re a team of RICS chartered surveyors. As RICS members, we’re held to strict standards that govern our skills, professionalism and ethics, meaning you can trust that we know what we’re talking about. We’re also fully insured for your reassurance.
In Gloucestershire, we’ve seen all sorts of problems crop up in homes we survey. Most of them aren’t deal-breakers and can be managed with a repair job or an ongoing treatment plan. However, it pays to be sure.
If you’re interested in instructing one of our chartered surveyors for a home survey in Gloucestershire, please feel free to contact us. We can be reached at email@example.com or, if you prefer, you could call our head-office directly on 03333 600 685. Reach out for an obligation-free quote, chat and to ask us any questions you’d like.
We can’t wait to hear from you and look forward to helping you move to or within this beautiful county.