Property surveys are carried out by independent Chartered Surveyors to assess a property’s overall structural condition, general state of repair and current market value. The purpose of these expert building inspections is to identify any property defects and flag up areas of concern, and provide professional recommendations for necessary repairs or refurbishments.
At Peter Barry Surveyors, our experienced team of RICS Chartered Surveyors deliver valuable insights into the condition of the property you are about to invest in. A good property survey should tell you everything your need to know about the fabric of the building, so that you can make an informed purchase decision. Our survey reports are designed to:
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) categorise surveys by ‘levels’ ranging from 1 to 3. A level 1 survey is a very basic condition report – we do not offer this type of report as we consider it too basic to be of any use to our clients.
The RICS Homebuyer Report is a level 2 survey. It is a cost-effective method of minimising risk by providing buyers with enough information to make a reasoned and informed decision on whether to proceed with their purchase. Elements, both inside and out, are given condition ratings based on a traffic light system and there are further sections highlighting the risks and summarising issues that you should discuss with your legal adviser. The Homebuyer Report (Level 2) can also include both the market value and the estimated reinstatement cost if required.
A Building Survey is a Level 3 survey and is a very detailed report. Some restrictions may still exist to avoid the property being damaged but within these limitations, the survey will be complete. A building survey not only describes the visible defects but considers potential problems caused by hidden flaws, and provides an outline of repair options and the likely consequences of inactivity.
If you require a bespoke report covering a particular issue or element, we also offer detailed Specific Defects Reports.
As well as property surveys, we can also provide standalone valuation reports for various purposes, including tax planning, matrimonial proceedings and staircasing shared ownership properties.
Which? The Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies Association advise you to get a survey before buying a property and not just to rely on a valuation. This is to ensure that you fully understand the condition of the building you are about to purchase, as well as the associated costs and repairs it may require in the foreseeable future.
In addition, property surveys can actually save you money. If problems are highlighted that you could not have been aware of when your offer was agreed, you should be able to re-negotiate the sale price to reflect the cost of necessary repairs. Of course, you may decide that you don’t want to buy it at all.
When a mortgage is required to purchase a property, the lender will have their own valuer visit to ensure that their loan is adequately secured. People often confuse this brief valuation report with a survey, but they are very different propositions.
Most mortgage valuations consist of a twenty-minute inspection and a report that, at best, will give you a few lines of general advice, whereas a survey will allow you to enter into the purchase with your eyes open.
The cost of a home survey will depend on the property’s value, its size and location and the level of detail required by the survey. In London, a RICS HomeBuyer Report (Level 2) starts from around £600 for an outer London purpose-built flat while a RICS Building Survey (Level 3) will typically cost upwards of £900 for an outer London 3 bedroom terraced house and can be substantially more. Every property is different, so please contact us to discuss your purchasing plans and request a quote.
An independent property survey is usually commissioned by the buyer during the conveyancing process, i.e., after the offer to buy has been accepted but before contracts are exchanged. It is highly recommended that you protect your investment by consulting the advice of a property expert about the structural condition of the building and other potential issues that could influence the purchasing decision.
While there is no obligation to have a survey carried out, it would be foolhardy to invest in a property without having a clear understanding of the condition it is in. Without an accurate valuation or knowledge of any defects present, you could be paying more than the property is worth, and be saddled with thousands of pounds in unexpected repair costs after you move in. An independent pre-purchase survey offers protection and can actually save you money.
A Level 3 RICS Building Survey (formerly known as a Full Structural Building Survey) is the most comprehensive assessment of the structure and condition of the property offered by the RICS. This is the appropriate depth of investigation recommended for older properties (including period homes and listed buildings), large residences and buildings with a history of alterations, renovation projects and ‘fixer-uppers’, as well as non-standard constructions.
Peter Barry Surveyors are regulated by the RICS meaning that we must follow strict rules of conduct – including having in place insurance to protect you – our surveyors must update their skills and knowledge throughout their careers so you can rely on their expertise and you are protected by a complaints procedure and access to independent redress through an Ombudsman scheme.
Our multi-disciplined team has a range of expertise to help you with any project, and allows us to provide a detailed, comprehensive service to every client.