sales@thepropertyfox.co.uk 
A property survey, or a homebuyers report is a document listing the condition of the property and its buildings. 
 
The purpose of this report is to disclose (or list) any faults with all parts of the house. 
 
Owning your own home is one of life's greatest aspirations; you get peace, security and comfort for years or even decades to come. 
 
When you're first looking to buy a home, it's important to not only have a set budget in mind, but also try and work out how much money you'll need to put down as a deposit so that you can secure the best mortgage rate possible. 
 
It's always a good idea for buyers of any property to arrange a property survey, so that you can know exactly what the building is like and how much it would cost to fix any problems or issues with the property. 
Here we'll be looking at getting a Homebuyers Survey and its significance when looking to buy your first home: 
 
What is a House Survey? A house survey is an inspection of the property's interior and exterior, usually lasting between 1-2 hours depending on the size of the property. A qualified surveyor will visit your property to assess its value and look for any problems or damage which may impact the price or how habitable it is. 
 
Why get a Homebuyers Survey? As mentioned above, it's always advised that buyers get a Homebuyers Survey when looking to buy their first home. This is because these surveys can help point out any problems which might exist with the property, either financial or structural. 
 
For example, if there are any issues with the roof or foundation then you'll have no idea how much it'll cost to fix this unless you get a house survey. This might mean that you need to adjust the price of the house which you were originally intending to buy it for or even reconsider whether buying said property is financially viable. 
 
What does a House Survey cover? A House Survey will cover both the interior and exterior condition of your home, listed in order from top to bottom on the report: 
· Roof  
· Eaves/Overhangs 
· Walls 
· Foundations 
· Windows and Doors 
· Gutters and Downpipes 
· Porches/Decks, etc. 
· Electrical installations 
· Plumbing installations If you're looking for a Homebuyers Survey then it's important to ask your estate agent or solicitor which ones they recommend as there are different types available. 
 
Generally a Homebuyers Survey will look at the following: 
 
Exterior The exterior of a house will include looking at any trees which might be growing too close to the property and may need to be cut back in order prevent them from damaging your home or others nearby.  
 
This section of a survey usually covers the roof, the exterior walls, foundations and sills of the property. Interior The interior section of a Homebuyers Survey covers all rooms in the house as well as external fittings such as wiring and plumbing. It's not uncommon for issues to be found with these areas during a survey so using one can help you to negotiate on price with the seller if there's a serious issue. 
 
For example, if the boiler is in need of replacement and will cost £500 to fix but you're able to negotiate £400 because you found out during your survey then it would be advisable to do so as it'll save you money in the long run. 
 
Which Surveyors are Qualified? Some estate agents or solicitors will recommend using specific companies who they have used in the past, where as others are happy for you to choose someone on your own. 
 
When choosing which company to use, it's advisable to find one with several years of experience and is part of a recognised Trade Body such as NALS or RICS. This is important because if you use a company who isn't qualified or members of recognised Trade Bodies, if they make an error during the survey then there's nothing you can do about it afterwards. 
 
What Surveys are Available? There are several Homebuyers Survey types available for buyers to choose from depending on their budget and requirements: 
 
· Full Structural Survey This survey is the most thorough and will give you a detailed report of any physical defects with the property as well as recommendations for any work which needs to be done. 
· Building Survey A building survey provides an opinion on how sound the structure of the building is as well as commenting on weather it's built to current regulations and safety standards. It doesn't, however, cover issues with the building's general condition. 
· Partial Survey This is a cheaper and less detailed option than the other surveys and only covers specific areas such as: roofs, external walls, structural elements and doesn't include an assessment of any roof insulation or loft hatch. 
How much does a Homebuyers Report Cost? Generally speaking the more detailed the survey, the higher it'll cost. 
· Homebuyer Report (no Structural Survey) £195-£250 (average price £209) 
· Building Survey (Includes Section on general condition of house, but not soundness of structure) £275-£400 (average price £316) 
· Full Structural Survey (In-depth report on structural soundness and safety issues) £400-£650 (average price £517) 
· Valuation Survey (Only a valuation of dwelling. No inspection of property, just an opinion as to market value and brief summary of condition.) £290-£365 (average price £317) 
 
By Law you'll need to have had one of these Homebuyers Surveys carried out before you exchange contracts, so it's important to consider how much you can afford and what your requirements are. 
 
As using the services of an Estate Agent or Solicitor will incur additional fees on top of any Survey costs, it might also be helpful to ask them what they think you should have done before you exchange contracts
 
A few reasons why a survey might be more costly is if: You have a more complex property which needs a lot of work or is difficult to access for example if it's situated on an elevated plot of land A specialist inspection of a particular area of the property will be needed, for example: a pool inspection, or an inspection of the gas and electrical installations You decide to extend or refurbish part or all of your property 
How Long Does a Survey Take? If your chosen Surveyor has access to the property then they should be able to complete their Homebuyers Survey within 5 working days of seeing the property for the first time.  
 
The exception would be if it took them longer to gain access or if they needed to inspect the property on several occasions, say if there was a long illness within your family or if it wasn't possible to enter into the property due to redecoration. 
 
You'll need to factor in some additional time for the Surveyor to prepare their report and send it back to you. Although this should take around 10 working days, if there's a backlog of work it may take longer to reach you. 
 
What are my Rights? 
Once your Homebuyers Survey has been completed, the surveyor will issue their report. As part of this they'll also provide an estimated repair cost for any defects or repairs which need to be done. 
 
It's your legal right to receive this report before you exchange contracts and it must include the following information: An indication of whether or not they feel the property is in a sound condition A comments on any proposed works which might be needed The estimated cost of these works A contact number for them should you want to discuss anything further. 
 
If your Surveyor has concerns about the soundness of the property, they have to declare this in their report, so you'll also receive information on your rights to withhold buying the property or renegotiate an offer. 
 
What is a Section 125 Report? As part of your Homebuyers Survey there's another document which all buyers should receive. This is called a Section 125 Report and it details the defects which affect your property. 
 
The report is split into three sections: A Summary, an Inspection Schedule (which lists all known defects) with comments, plus a Valuation section for market values of any proposed repairs. 
 
The seller will have received copies of this report before you viewed the house. They'll also have been given a copy and had the opportunity to comment on its findings before you exchange contracts. 
 
What if the Seller Refuses to give me their Survey? If you've asked your Agent to request copies of any surveys for your new property, but they refuse, it's really important that you insist on seeing them. Otherwise, there could be problems later down the line, especially if you need evidence of any defects to support your case during the legal process should it ever come to that. 
 
A Homebuyer's Survey will help ensure that you're buying a sound property and also give you an indication of what repairs might be needed. As this information is so important, it's worth getting a survey done before you exchange contracts. 
 
 
How much does a Homebuyer's Survey cost? The average cost for this Survey is £500 but the price may vary according to where you live in the country and whether or not there are any restrictions on access to your property. We would normally expect you to pay the fee upfront. Your solicitor will receive a copy of the report and if you need to negotiate on price with the seller, they'll be able to refer to this evidence. 
 
Contact us for more information: 
 
sales@thepropertyfox.co.uk 
 
0116 3409989 
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