If you want to make sure that the property you are about to buy is a worthwhile investment, a building survey can tell you all you need to know!
When you are buying a new property either for business or when moving home, it’s nice to know you’re getting what you pay for. Above all, you want to be sure that the property purchased is safe and inhabitable, built on solid foundations and expertly constructed with little or no faults that might prevent you from moving in straight away. Unfortunately, many buildings – especially older ones – harbour cracks, structural faults or other nasty surprises in fittings or materials which might not be immediately obvious. With Derby recently celebrating its 2000th birthday as one of the oldest settlements in the UK, it’s likely the older homes in the city might just have such problems – and they’ll need to be treated out of your pocket.
Luckily, a building survey (also known as a full structural survey) will help you discover the true condition of your property and save you time and money that may be wasted later on. Unlike a mortgage valuation (which simply compares the asking price to the actual value of the building) or a homebuyer’s report (which is really only suitable for modern homes), a building survey provides an in-depth, comprehensive account of the home and its structure, as well as the condition of all existing fixtures and fittings. These surveys are particularly suitable for older buildings or homes with unusual designs, or if you’re looking to begin major renovations orrefurbishments – as a completed survey will help you obtain the legally required planning permission from Derby City Council you need to get started.
Most surveyors and solicitors would recommend that you have the survey carried out before you sign on the dotted line but if you’ve already completed the transaction obtaining a detailed report on the property will give you the chance to fix any problems they might come across and may reduce the stress of moving home. If you were handed an initial survey or homebuyer’s report that contained false or missing information and you’re worried about costs, you can always contact the Citizens Advice Bureau on how to go about getting some form of compensation. If the building is less than 10 years old it may have come with a warranty, although you’ll need to read this carefully to be sure what is and isn’t covered to last. Nevertheless, the benefits of getting a building survey are still numerous, as a typical
- Work closely with architects, project managers, floor planners, construction workers and homeowners to make sure they provide the most wide ranging and informative survey covering all possible areas of home defect.
- Use the most up to date equipment to inspect walls for damp and dry rot and to examine all timber fittings and features for rot, woodworm and bacteria and fungi.
- Probe all insulation material and drainage equipment (including those in attics or basements) for the smallest kind of damage and advise the best course of action for immediate repair.
- Be able to provide you with Property Legislation Advice and can help handle Planning Applications in regard to all existing and/or future extensions and out buildings that form part of the property.
- Offer advice on design management, possible treatments and further, more specialised inspections and any home refurbishments or repairs that need completing as a result of the survey’s findings.
Hiring a surveyor
A building survey can be tailored to suit you and your own worries and anxieties about a property, so if you require other areas of the home to be checked – an examination of gas and electrical utilities, for example, you only need ask. It may cost a little extra, but will give you immediate and well informed peace of mind. Make sure you look around to find a professional with excellent references; you may choose to hire someone who is qualified and affiliated with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). It’s also a good idea to find a surveyor who knows the Derby area and choose a local firm, as the surrounding topography and age of the home may affect the condition of various structures or fittings. A typical survey of a three bedroom semi-detached home costs around £1000, but the price will vary according to the number of defects that arise. Not having it done, however, will ultimately mean a larger bill in the future, so getting a building survey is undoubtedly a worthwhile investment for all new homeowners.