What can I expect from a property survey?

Nathan Walker, Sales Director at CPS Homes in CardiffNathan Walker, Sales Director, explains why it's important to carry out a property survey when buying a home and the sort of things a surveyor will look for..

Nobody said buying a property would always be plain sailing. Even after you’ve scoured the market for your dream home, put in the hours viewing those that took your fancy, finally had an offer accepted, pictured your furniture in the lounge and the colour schemes you’d like to choose in the bedrooms - there’s still an awful lot of work ahead before the sale gets over the line. Part of that work involves due diligence and making sure the property is going to be a sound investment not only financially, but also structurally.

Before signing contracts and finally opening the door to your new house with that shiny key, both you and any mortgage lender should want to know exactly what sort of state the property is in and be well prepared for any work that needs to be carried out or any nasty secrets that are lurking behind what appears to be a safe, secure home.

One thing that you should be carrying out on any potential home purchase is a property survey. Failing to do so could leave you with an unforeseen costly and disastrous outcome at some point in the future. 

There are three different types of property surveys that can be carried out:

  • Condition Report - the most basic option typically only used for new, standard build properties in good condition. 
  • Homebuyer Report - the most common report for most standard build properties
  • Full Structural Survey - an in-depth comprehensive report suited to larger, older properties or homes with an unusual layout or that have used building materials such as timber frames or thatched roofs, or for homes that are in a bad state of repair.

For the purpose of this article, we will focus on what happens during the more common homebuyer report.

What is a property survey?

A property survey can be carried out at any time, but the most likely time someone would be looking for a property surveyor is when they are a home buyer hoping to make a purchase. Home buyers find that most mortgage lenders will insist on a property survey to ensure the property is a sound investment as they’ll want to protect their loan to you as best they can - and this is what the property survey will help provide some clarity on. 

With that said, although carrying out a property survey makes a lot of sense for buyer and mortgage lender alike to better understand the property being purchased, it isn’t always a legal requirement. In some instances, a mortgage lender may be happy enough with title insurance.

What happens during a property survey?

A property survey includes a fairly extensive visual inspection of the building, its existing services - such as electrics, plumbing and heating - and the grounds, but it does not actually include any testing. Hard-to-reach areas like roof spaces, basements and cellars will be inspected if the surveyor can safely carry out the inspection in those areas.

What will the property report include?

The property report will provide an objective description of the properties condition, its existing services and grounds, and will provide an assessment of any existing defects or notable problems - such as these 5 common problems that a home survey often reveals. Basic advice will be given in relation to repairs that may need to be carried out or any ongoing maintenance issues that have been detected, and if access to the current EPC report is made available the surveyor will also highlight the energy efficiency rating and check for any obvious discrepancies between the current rating and the property, and provide an explanation should any implications be found.

Learn more about ways to improve your EPC rating.

Any relevant legal issues or obvious risks to the building itself, people, or grounds, will also be highlighted. If the home buyer is planning to carry out refurbishment work on the property, the surveyor can also provide advice on those suitable additional services. If a surveyor cannot reach a conclusion with reasonable confidence regarding any matter related to the property, a recommendation for further investigations will be submitted.

Here at CPS Homes we’re proud to offer our extensive knowledge of the Cardiff property market to any buyers on the lookout for their dream property. To find out more about how our team of property experts can help with your search, get in touch with us by calling 02920 668585, e-mail enquiries@cpshomes.co.uk or pop into one of our three Cardiff branches.

22 September 2021

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