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Property surveys: Are they worth it?

Buying a new home is one of the most exciting, but intimidating, things you can do. With so many factors to consider, it can be hard to figure out what are necessities and what are optional extras. Property surveys are often considered an unnecessary expense; however, they can be paramount in preventing any unwelcome surprises.

What are property surveys used for?

Property surveys provide thorough inspections of the property that you want to buy before you do so. Essentially, they give the buyer more details of the condition of the property, before completing the purchase. There is more than one type of property survey available, and they cover different issues. Basic ones determine the exact value of the property, but others go into more detail. They look at the aesthetics of the property, with some going further to what cannot be seen easily. These surveys are designed to identify potential risks that may require maintenance or repair after moving in.

What are the main types of property surveys?

While there are many types of surveys out there, some of the most common ones are:

  • Level 1 – Property Valuation Report

This is one of the more basic surveys, which is why it is in the first level category. It does not go into detail assessing the condition of the property or identifying potential risks. It is designed to identify the true value of the property, to prevent the prospective buyer from overpaying.

  • Level 2- HomeSurvey (Previously called RICS HomeBuyer Report)

This type of survey goes into more detail. The HomeSurvey will identify and assess any potential risks that can be easily seen by the naked eye. This can include anything from dampness to subsidence and more. It also includes estimate repair or maintenance costs, which can be used to negotiate the asking price.

  • Level 3 – Building Survey

This is one of the most in-depth property surveys. The inspection goes behind walls and under floorboards to provide a full picture of the condition of the property. It is particularly useful for older properties and is often recommended. It assesses the structural integrity of the building and provides a thorough report on the condition as well as potential repairs.

Who conducts property surveys?

Property surveys are conducted by surveyors. They are qualified professionals that can accurately inspect properties and provide full reports of their findings. Independent advice can be essential in preventing you from buying a property that you may not necessarily want. RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) surveyors adhere to a strict code of conduct so you can be safe in the knowledge that your report is accurate.

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