Whether a cash purchaser or purchasing a residential property with the assistance of a mortgage, we here at McCay Solicitors always recommend that clients consider obtaining a home buyers survey prior to the exchange of contracts. Purchasing a property is likely to be the biggest investment you will make therefore you will want to ensure that there are no additional costs for remedial works post completion that may have been avoided if you had obtained a survey.
What is a home buyers survey?
A home buyers report will help you make an informed judgement on whether to go ahead with the purchase, whether the agreed price is fair, and to know what action to take before the exchange of contracts.
A Homebuyer Report is suitable for properties that are less than 100 years old, where otherwise a Building Survey would be the most appropriate.
The Surveyor will give their professional opinion on the features of the property that affect its value and might affect the potential of a future resale.
The Homebuyer Report highlights any problems or defects with the property that are urgent or significant, according to the Surveyor.
What is considered by the Surveyor?
The Homebuyer Report focuses on defects, general condition, features and other considerations such as safety, location, environment and insurance. Here’s a more in depth look at what a Homebuyer Report includes:
- Introduction to the report – Outlines the intention of the Homebuyer Report and what it will help you with.
- About the inspection – Details of your professional surveyor, the date and time, and other information about the survey.
- Overall opinion and summary of the condition ratings – The surveyor’s overall opinion of the property, its condition and market value. It also summarised the condition ratings of different elements of the property.
- About the property – Outlines the details of the property including the type, date of build, number of rooms, mains services, and the local environment.
- Outside the property – Describes the external features of the property such as the chimney, extension, main walls, windows and doors. It also gives a condition rating for each element.
- Inside the property – Describes the internal features of the property including the ceilings, walls, floors, fireplaces, and bathroom fittings. It also gives a condition rating for each element.
- Services – Regards the quality of the services in the property. For example, electricity, gas, water, heating, water heating and drainage. Again, this section gives a condition rating for each service.
- Grounds (including shared areas for flats) – Explains the general condition of the grounds of the building, as well as features like the garage or outbuilding.
- Issues for your legal advisers – Identifies issues detected during the survey that your legal advisers may want to investigate further. For example, whether there’s a warranty covering replacement windows.
- Risks – Summarises defects and issues that cause a risk to the building, grounds or people. The issues may have already been highlighted in the condition ratings, but this will give a general overview.
- Valuation – Gives the surveyor’s opinion of the market value on the date of the inspection, and the current reinvestment cost of the property. The surveyor will explain how they arrived at the valuation and the assumptions made based on this.
- What to do now – A detailed section giving you guidance on what to do with the Homebuyer Report now that you have it. This could be getting quotations, further investigations and when to do the repair or replacement work.
How much is a home buyers survey?
Home buyers survey cost in or around £400.00, approximately. You can make enquiries with a surveyor directly or perhaps ask your solicitor, on your behalf, to obtain a quotation for a home buyers report from a surveyor prior to instruction. The estimated fee includes the Surveyor’s attendance at the property and for the preparation of the home buyers report. This is then provided to the Purchaser(s) and his/her Solicitor for consideration.
Why would a survey be recommended if my mortgage company have carried out their own valuation?
There may be serious defects in the property which are not revealed by the Lender’s Valuation report and there may be omissions or inaccuracies which do not matter to the Lender but may matter to you. It is therefore important that you not rely on the Valuation that has been prepared by the Lender as their report simply confirms that the property is suitable for their security
What is the difference between the lender’s valuation and a home buyers survey?
A home buyers Survey requires a fuller inspection and gives much more detailed advice about the property. If serious defects are noted prior to completion the home buyers survey can be used to renegotiate the sale price or alternatively you can request that the Vendor attends to the remedial works, if any, prior to completion.
I am cash purchasing my property, should I definitely get a home buyers survey?
Whilst we recommend all clients should obtain a home buyers report this is particularly the case when clients are cash purchasers as no survey/valuation will be carried out to the property prior to completion.
Surely if a serious defect is noted after completion the Vendor is liable?
The general principle when you are someone purchasing a property is ‘Caveat Emptor’, translated from Latin, this simply means ‘buyer beware’.
The Vendor in the conveyancing transaction has no duty of disclosure in relation to any defects that are either patent (reasonable discoverable from an investigation of the property) or latent (not reasonably discoverable). There are some exceptions to latent defects such as where the Vendor is aware of defects during his/her legal ownership. The Vendor however cannot provide to the prospective purchaser any untrue or misleading information.
As a Purchaser you are required and expected to make the reasonable enquiries in relation to the state and condition of a property.
Key things to consider when purchasing a property:
- Thoroughly inspect the property in person.
- Obtain a Home Buyers Report, as recommend, and follow up on any issues noted by the Surveyor in the report.
- Discuss any concerns you may have with the property with your Solicitor.
Get in touch with McCay Solicitors today to discuss your options.
Written by our Associate, Charlene McGlinchey