How a home survey can help you avoid buyers’ regret
There are several different levels of survey available. A valuation by a RICS registered surveyor is the lowest and least expensive of them all, providing basic information about how much a property is worth.
In this article, we’ll be going into more detail about what a valuation involves and when it might be appropriate to get one.
What is RICS?
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, better known as RICS, is the regulatory body for chartered surveyors.
Founded in 1868 during the tail end of the British Industrial Revolution, the body sets out standards under which all its members must operate.
Initially set up during a period when roads, buildings, and other infrastructure were being built rapidly, it protects both its members and the clients its members work for.
This means clients should always expect the highest quality of work and professionalism from the chartered surveyor they hire.
The term ‘chartered surveyor’ is protected in the UK (but not in many other countries). A person in this profession can call themselves a chartered surveyor only if they are an active RICS member. Everyone else must use a different term, with most opting for simply ‘surveyor’.
When choosing a surveyor to carry out a home survey, it’s usually advised to go with a RICS member. Of course, other surveyors operating outside of RICS might also do a great job, but there are far more risks and unknowns involved. For example, anyone can call themselves a surveyor, even if they have no training or experience.
What’s a RICS valuation?
A valuation by a RICS registered surveyor is a base-level home survey. The surveyor will come to the property in question (at a time convenient for the owner, of course) and conduct a quick ‘valuation’ to produce an independent estimate of its market value.
The RICS surveyor will take into account:
- Its condition
- Its age
- The materials with which it was built
- Construction methods
- The local area
- Nearby facilities
- Its market “desirability”
- and more.
Most mortgage providers require a valuation before they’ll grant you a mortgage loan. They usually organise these independently from you as the buyer.
Valuations are vital because they double-check that the price you’re paying is approximately what the property’s worth. If you were to pay more than this, the mortgage provider would be taking a higher risk to loan you the money. It would also, of course, have a greater impact on your personal bank account.
Because of this, a valuation can be included with all the other home surveys we offer.
What other RICS surveys are available?
For some people, a valuation is all they need. However, more detailed home surveys might be more appropriate for many.
For more detailed home surveys, you could consider instructing a surveyor for either a:
RICS Home Survey Level 2
A Home Survey Level 2 (previously known as the RICS Homebuyer Report) includes a valuation. It also involves a detailed inspection of a property to check its condition.
The inspection report provides information such as maintenance advice and guidance on approaching any defects that might affect the house’s value.
The Home Survey Level 2 is most appropriate for ‘average’ houses, flats and bungalows in good condition.
RICS Home Survey Level 3
For even further detail, a Home Survey Level 3 includes everything from the Home Survey Level 2 but also focuses on the property’s structural integrity. It used to be called the RICS Building Survey and is the most in-depth home survey we offer.
Buyers opting for a Home Survey Level 3 are usually considering purchasing an older property or a renovation project. As an optional extra, it can also include an estimate of repair costs for any issues uncovered.
Is a valuation right for me?
A valuation is usually most appropriate for a simple confirmation of a property’s value. Although it includes some basic information about the house that the surveyor observes (to establish an accurate value), it doesn’t include a detailed inspection.
As a result, a valuation is probably the right choice for you if you’re absolutely sure about the property’s condition.
A valuation by a RICS registered surveyor can also be provide for redemption of Help to Buy scheme, Shared Ownership staircasing, probate, matrimonial disputes, pension and capital gains tax purposes.
That being said, it’s usually best to discuss your options with a professional chartered surveyor. That way, the survey can be personalised to your specific needs.