What is a Property Survey?

If you’re selling or buying a property, you may be wondering whether or not to get a property survey done. A property survey can often be overlooked by some as a cost that isn’t essential. However, when it comes to buying a new property, the survey can highlight issues that may save you thousands of pounds of repair work in the future. Whilst not every building survey report discovers significant defects, there will always be a large number that do. But exactly what is a property survey, how can it help you and what does it entail?

What is a Property Survey?

Above all, a property survey is a detailed inspection of a property’s condition. The surveyor inspects the property and tells you if there are any problems. For example, there might be unstable walls or subsidence. 

Besides this, the survey also highlights any repairs that need to be done. For example, fixing the roof or chimney chute. A full report will include expert commentary on the property, such as the type of wall or glazing used. 

A full building survey includes a building inspection, a survey report, and a property valuation on your property if requested. 

The surveyor will inspect all visible and accessible parts of a building including roofs, walls, floors, windows, and doors. Along with chimneys, cellars, garages, and outbuildings. 

At McCallums, our surveyors offer a bespoke and detailed report for each client. Including a summary highlighting the issues that require attention or further investigation. 

Type of Property Survey?

There are three main types of property surveys. 

1. Firstly, there is the Condition Report, or survey level one.

In this case, it doesn’t go into much detail and is the most basic survey you can get. Therefore it is the cheapest. Indeed, its design is mainly to complement the mortgage valuation and provides simple traffic light indications as to the state of the property. Green means everything is OK, orange is a cause for concern and red means serious repairs are vital. It also provides you with a summary of the property’s defects and possible risks affecting the home. However, it won’t include any advice or a valuation. 

2. Secondly, there is a HomeBuyers Survey

This is a level two survey report in more detail. It comes with the options below. A HomeBuyers Survey is appropriate for properties that are under 100 years old, or generally in a good condition.

There is a HomeBuyers survey only which will tell you any major problems such as obvious rot or subsidence. Another key point is that the surveyor will not be checking behind any furniture, lifting up floorboards or drilling holes, so any report is limited. 

The HomeBuyers Survey with a valuation includes all of the above features, plus a valuation and an insurance reinstatement value. This means you’ll know how much money you’ll receive if the property burns down. 

A Home Condition Survey is carried out by a specialist in residential surveys and includes practical information. For example, broadband speed, damp assessment, and boundary issues. 

3. Finally, there is a full Building Survey at level three.

To clarify, a building survey level 3 is a more in-depth survey. It’s good for older homes and properties that have had work done. Or perhaps that you intend to do building work on in the near future. As such, it is the more expensive and comprehensive option.  

The surveyor will get into the attic, check behind walls, and look between floors and above ceilings. It includes advice on repairs and provides estimated timings and costs. Unless specified, it will probably not include a market valuation. 

How Much Does a Property Survey Cost?

  • A Condition Report normally costs around £300 or more.
  • A HomeBuyers report at level 2 starts from about £400, depending on what option you choose.
  • Subsequently, a full Building Survey is the most expensive option, but also the most comprehensive. The average building survey costs from around £500-£1300, this depends on the size of the property, the value of it, and the age. You are paying for a detailed report on your property where the surveyor may have to spend more time looking at different elements.

Where Can I Get a Survey?

A qualified surveyor will carry out your property survey. If you can get a local surveyor, they are likely to know the market in your area and have a good knowledge of local valuations. 

Additionally, if you are buying an unusual house such as a lighthouse, a castle, or a grade one listed property, it’s a good idea to get a surveyor with experience in that field. Survey costs will vary between companies, and depend on the size and location of your property. 

At McCallums, we are an independent firm with expert knowledge in East Anglia. Our team has local real estate knowledge which we use to provide our clients with strategic advice. 

To Conclude: What is a Property Survey?

To sum up, buying a property is probably one of the biggest purchases you will ever make. That’s why it makes sense to get it checked properly. As a buyer, you want to be as fully informed as possible which includes any defects with the property. Depending on what the property survey shows, you may even wish to pull out of the sale. Or if you find through the survey that the roof needs £20,000 worth of repairs, you could ask for £20,000 off the asking price. 

Furthermore, if you decide not to get a building survey done, when you move in, you may find some nasty surprises in your property that could take a long time to fix. For the sake of a few hundred pounds or just over a thousand, a property survey is a wise decision to make. With so much money potentially at stake, you won’t regret spending a fraction of it on a property survey. 

At McCallums, we have been helping homeowners, investors and professionals with property surveys for over 20 years. 

We are proud to be an independent and local firm in East Anglia. 

Request a call from us today to book your property survey or visit our website for more details.