06, June, 2023

What is a building survey and why are they important?

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If you’re looking to buy a property but are hesitant to have a building survey before finalising, you’ve come to the right place. We Buy Any House have gathered information to outline just how important building surveys are and why you shouldn’t skip them in your house-buying process.

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What is a building survey?

A building survey is an inspection of the property that you’re looking to buy to check for any faults, both minor and major, along with any flaws that the property has under the surface.

A full survey report will include;

  • A detailed assessment of any defects in or on the property, including any potential hazards that are already there or are likely to develop,
  • Advice to deal with any repairs and maintenance that is needed on the property with an estimated price,
  • A description of any structural work that the property has had previously,
  • If requested, a valuation of the property.

This survey will closely inspect the inside and outside of your property along with the visible and accessible areas to give you a very detailed account of the whole area.

What are the aspects of this survey?

The surveyor will do the following and show evidence of any;

  • Damp tests,
  • Any previous alterations to supporting walls,
  • Hazardous materials, such as asbestos,
  • Subsidence,
  • Japanese knotweed,
  • Roof damage,
  • Large trees that pose any threat on the property border,
  • Woodworm or dry rot,
  • Important information on materials used to build the property,
  • Any recommendations if further investigation is needed.

Why are building surveys important?

These surveys can reveal any structural issues that the property might have, letting you know if it’s worth the asking price. Sometimes, sellers aren’t aware of the issues in a property and so have an asking price that doesn’t reflect the repairs that need doing. Buy having a building survey on the property, you can confirm the true value of the house and know that you’re not paying more than you should be if there is significant damage.

If the survey does uncover structural issues that will be an issue it gives you two choices. You can either walk away from the sale, knowing that it’s a bad idea and let you move on to something more suitable, or if you’re still keen and are prepared to rectify the issues, you can use the findings from this survey to negotiate the asking price of the property.

The ideal time for a building survey is before you finalise the sale, to give you time to change your mind if you need to. Whilst they can be a little pricey- prices range from £500 to £1000 depending on the location and size of the property you’re looking at- these surveys could save you thousands of pounds if there’s damage discovered that you didn’t know about previously.

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Are there alternatives?

If you’re concerned about spending money on a building survey, there are cheaper alternatives,

  • A condition report investigates the state of a house and identifies and immediate problems, risks and potential legal problems. This report won’t provide any advice or a valuation as it’s the most basic, cheapest survey, usually costing around £250.
  • A homebuyer report is good for houses that are modern and in reasonable condition. This report will look at subsidence and any damp structural issues but does not investigate past surface-level problems. This is more expensive, costing around £400.

Overall, choosing whether a building survey is right for you is down to your personal opinion. Whilst it does seem expensive, if it uncovers problems in a property it could potentially save you a lot of time and money, and if you pay for a survey, find severe issues and decide you don’t want to buy the property any more you’re able to sell the report from the survey to other potential buyers, getting you some of your money back. It’s best to look at these sort of things long-term; how much money could it save you in the future by paying it now?

We buy any home in as little as 7 days, or timescales to suit you. Head to our website for more information.

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