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What is a Home Survey (and Do I Need One)?

Organising a home survey is a standard part of the home purchase process.  But with a number of different types of home surveys available, it is important to understand how they work and which is the right choice for you.

What is a Home Survey?

When planning to purchase a property through funds such as bridging loans, a home survey is performed to assess its condition, its state of repair and the extent to which any essential repairs/work may be needed. Some home surveys include a valuation of the property, but not all.

Subsequently, a home survey can help ensure you have a full and accurate picture of the property you intend to buy, presented and explained by a qualified professional.

Do I Need a Home Survey?

Technically speaking, the answer is no, it is not a legal requirement for a home survey to be conducted. Nevertheless, purchasing a home without a professional survey being performed can be risky.

It is therefore advisable to consider a home survey mandatory, even though it is not. Though there are different rules in Scotland, where a ‘Home Report’ must be produced by an appropriately qualified professional, prior to a home being listed on the market for sale.

RICS Surveys

Members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors perform four different types of evaluations, with different levels of scrutiny and intensiveness: 

  • RICS Home Survey Level 1 – the cheapest RICS survey, suitable for newer homes and conventional properties
  • RICS Home Survey Level 2 (Survey) – a more detailed survey that looks more intensively at potential issues and maintenance/repair requirements
  • RICS Home Survey Level 3 (Survey and Valuation) – the same as the above, but including a formal valuation of the property
  • RICS Home Survey Level 4 – the most comprehensive survey, providing in-depth analysis of the property’s state of repair in its entirety

RPSA Surveys

Members of the Residential Property Surveyors Association also offer a variety of different types of home surveys, as follows:

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  • Home Condition Survey (HCS) – suitable for all property types, including a full inspection and comprehensive report.
  • Building Survey (Full or Structural Survey) – the most intensive survey conducted by RPSA members, suitable for all types of properties but aimed at non-standard buildings and those clearly in need of repairs/maintenance.
  • Buy-to-Let Survey – aimed at Buy to Let investors, assessing whether properties adhere to the terms and conditions of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act.

Other Types of Surveys Available

Some of the other types of surveys available from a variety of providers include:

  • Valuation Surveys and Mortgage Surveys – a simple valuation of the property to determine its market value and the subsequent size of the mortgage needed to purchase it.
  • Snagging Surveys – conducted to check for any potential defects with a newly constructed property or with new building work.

Home Survey Costs

The cost of a home survey will be determined by the nature and intensiveness of the survey carried out, varying from around £300 for a basic survey to more than £1,500 for a more detailed survey.

For more information on how to choose the right type of survey or to discuss any aspect of the home purchase process in more detail, contact a member of the team at UK Property Finance today.

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