What happens during a home survey?
A home survey is an in-depth inspection of a property you’re looking to buy. They help mitigate risk by spotting current and potential problems while also providing detailed information on everything from the floors to the walls.
This article explores what happens during a home survey and why it’s worth getting one.
When does a home survey get done?
Although there are no set rules for this, it’s usually requested after the seller has accepted the initial offer. Most of the time, the buyer fronts the cost of the survey.
If you’re buying a home at auction, we’d recommend commissioning a survey before entering a bid.
It’s not a legal requirement to get a home survey during the buying process, but it is strongly advised. In some situations, a home survey might highlight drastic issues, whether structural, environmental, or health-related. Occasionally, these problems mean the buyer doesn’t want to go through with the sale.
Because of this, most people consider a home survey to be well worth the investment.
Who does the home survey?
Qualified professionals should carry out home surveys. Most of these will be registered with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). RICS members all carry professional indemnity insurance, giving you peace of mind.
Although you could hire any qualified surveyor, it’s best to hire RICS-certified specialists. For example, look for one who works in your local area, as they’ll know the market well.
How much does a survey cost?
The cost of a home survey varies, depending on the type of survey you commission and the age, location and condition of the property being surveyed.
However, regardless of the cost, the value of a home survey is something you can’t afford to ignore. RICS-registered surveyors provide a high-quality, specialist job. They could potentially save you many thousands on a future problem, such as a structural instability or wiring issue.
What different home surveys are available?
Here at GB Home Surveys, we offer two different surveys. These are Level Two and Level Three, formerly known as a RICS Homebuyer Report and Building Survey (respectively).
RICS updated its Home Survey Standard in March 2021 to bring greater clarity to the market, with these new names reflecting those changes.
A Home Survey Level Two is an intermediate report. It will provide information on all aspects of the property, including maintenance advice and what you should do about any problems it picks up on. This Level Two survey is appropriate for average dwellings in decent condition constructed using common building materials.
A Home Survey Level Three is the most advanced home survey available. It’s more thorough than the Level 2 and includes a comprehensive, detailed inspection of the property, grounds and services. The surveyor will also give you their professional opinion on the property’s condition and advice in all aspects going forward.
If you’re unsure which home survey is right for you, feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to assist you.
What do home surveys check?
Home surveys check just about everything you can think of.
Our Home Survey Level Two report includes detailed information on all the following and more:
- Overall opinion
- About the property
- Outside the property (for example, chimney stacks, main walls, windows, outside doors)
- Inside the property (such as ceilings, walls, floors, bathroom fittings, etc.)
- Issues for legal advisers
- Surveyor’s declaration
- Recommended next steps
In the Home Survey Level Three, you can expect even more in-depth detail on all of the above items, along with energy matters.
How long does a home survey take?
Once you have arranged for a surveyor to come out to a property at a time suitable for all parties (including the seller), the inspection itself will usually take a few hours. A Home Survey Level Two is likely to last between ninety minutes and four hours, while a Home Survey Level Three often takes most of the day.
After the survey has concluded, the surveyor will write up their findings in a report and send them to you. While they will always do this as quickly as possible, it can sometimes take a few days before you receive the results.
When you receive your report, it’s up to you what to do next. Sometimes, buyers will get cold feet, and often sensibly so; however, many problems can easily be solved or worked around.
We would advise sitting down with your surveyor and walking through the potential risks and benefits the home survey has uncovered. They will be able to assist you in personalised ways, and so it’s well worth the time.
As RICS-certified professional surveyors, we will be happy to help you with moving house, but, ultimately, the decision of whether to continue with the purchase is down to you.