If you are purchasing with the aid of funding from a lender (bank, building society or other financial organisation) then they will wish to establish that the property is adequate security for the advance. The lender will commission a valuation survey, which seeks to identify the location and condition of the property to determine its value and whether it is adequate security for the advance. Whilst more serious items (which will directly affect the value) will be noted, the purpose of this exercise is merely to protect the lender in the event that you (the purchaser) default upon the loan.
If you have paid the lender, or their chosen surveyor, for this survey to be undertaken you are entitled to receive and consider a copy of this, however, it will give you little protection from expenditure, particularly as in our experience most properties are devalued mainly by the aggregate effect of small items, rather than through serious structural problems, such as subsidence of the site.
The Homebuyers Report:
This is a ‘package’ type report based on a standard format prepared by the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). Guidance in compiling such a survey is to list defects but to make no diagnosis or interpretation of that damage or defect. If further advice is required then this would be the subject of a separate report. The Homebuyers Report package contains as an integral part, an open market valuation of the property. This information you will probably already have received from the lender’s valuation survey and is therefore duplicated. This is, however, unavoidable.
The Homebuyers Report is suitable only for relatively new properties which are in generally good order.
The Full Building Survey:
The inspection carried out for this is the same as that undertaken for the Homebuyers Report, however, this is a full ‘text based’ report which discusses the type of construction, its condition and any problems which might potentially raise costs for repair to that particular element.
The inspection for this type of report (and the Homebuyers) relates to everything that can reasonably be accessed (subject to certain limitations) and where items cannot be accessed (eg; suspended timber ground floor voids) based on the evidence which could be gleaned.
Where there is damage or defect we would provide what advice could be given within the limits of the survey, concerning probable cause and an outline indication of what might need to be undertaken, to correct this.
We would recommend this type of survey report for most properties and, to encourage its use, we have set our fee for the Full Building Survey (without open market valuation advice which may in any event be redundant) at the same price as the Homebuyers Report.