Surveys are an all over health check on a property. Your survey should be carried out before you exchange contracts so if it reveals any defects, it is not too late to seek an appropriate reduction in the purchase price or even withdraw from the purchase if the defect is serious.
There are two main types of survey which are recognised by The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS):-
Homebuyers Survey and Valuation (HSV)
The HSV is carried out to a precise format set out by the RICS. It is a nine page form which includes all major sections of the property that are clearly visible to the surveyor. The aim of the HSV is to provide a snapshot of what the overall condition of the property is, and to identify which areas are in need of further tests or more specific investigation, rather than dealing with every aspect of a property.
The HSV is more suitable for conventional properties that are in a reasonable condition, have been built within the last 150 years and are less than 2000 square feet. The HSV is not suitable for unusual properties, properties that are particularly old or if you are planning on renovating the property.
The main details of the HSV will include: –
- Looking at the general condition of the property and assessing its major and minor faults.
- Assessing whether any of the major faults will need repairing and the cost implications of these.
- Assessing and reporting on the existence of any damp in walls and woodwork and any woodworm.
- Assessing the condition of damp proofing, insulation and drainage (although drainage will not be tested).Providing an estimated cost for rebuilding should the property be destroyed (this is usually for building insurance purposes).
- Recommendations for any further surveys and investigations that may need to be performed on specialist areas before contracts should be exchanged.