Home Buyers Survey
Should we go for a Full Structural Survey, Building Survey or HomeBuyer Report on a home in UK and which is cheaper?
The Full Structural Survey has been renamed by RICS as a Building Survey, although it is essentially the same level of survey.
If the UK property is an apartment, or is 100 or more years old, or has been substantially modified, or is of non standard construction, RICS advise the cheaper Building Survey.
If you are planning to do any major works on the UK property, you should you go for a Building Survey. The Building Survey is less cheap but it will offer an in-depth analysis of the UK property's condition as well as advice on defects as well as maintenance options .
For more detailed advice get a UK Home Survey Quote via our website or call 0800 038 6667 to speak to our survey team.
What is a home survey, and what will the surveyor actually do?
There are three main types of home buyers survey, the HomeBuyer Report, the Building Survey and the Property Valuation Report. Each of these has a different focus, so buyers should consider which of the three is the right choice for them:
HomeBuyer Report - A general survey of a home, including any visible defects or issues. If the property to be surveyed is of standard construction, and was built after 1900, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recommend that the HomeBuyer Report is usually the best choice. The report is delivered in a standardised format for easy reference. The HomeBuyer Report includes a valuation.
Building Survey - A more in-depth survey of a property, including all accessible areas of a home. RICS recommend the building survey for older properties, or those of non-standard construction. Building survey reports are tailored by the individual surveyor, and can address any additional questions or concerns. Note that this home buyers survey does not include a valuation as standard.
Property Valuation Report - The most basic of the three, this report is primarily a valuation, and will not include details of particular defects.
For more detail please see the detailed survey comparison table.
Will there be any potential pitfalls we should be wary of if planning to buy a house in UK in the vicinity of a conservation area?
There are over 9, 000 of conservation areas throughout the country, responsibility for which lies with the local authority. Your surveyor must have knowledge of relevant local area issues and any connection may have with the building and its value. The price of property is, more often than not, significantly higher because of conservation areas being unspoilt. However many of them are falling into are falling into a state of neglect for example - badly maintained and potholed roads and pavements
Surveyors can be expected to inform you if the house is or might be within a conservation area and the Section I Issues for your legal advisers of your UK Homebuyer Report will recommend suitable questions are carried out by your conveyancer. Unsympathetic developments that do not have Local Authority approval should be reported but these are really more a concern for your legal representative.
What are the problems associated with properties built on clay soil?
Surveyor Local handle more enquiries relating to subsidence than any other single factor. Subsidence typically relates to subterranean factors, such as soil types, and can creep up or sometimes even appear dramatically out of nowhere.One of the most common causes is from underlying clay soil. Although the softness of certain types of clay can be a contributory factor, the real problem is due to the contraction brought about by a local drop in the water table. This can result from protracted dry periods or even from the root system of a local tree absorbing excessive water. Some large and mature trees can drink 50, 000 litres of water a year.
Controversially, recent hosepipe bans have also contributed to the drying out of soil in affected areas and subsidence claims have actually increaseed as a result. Most of the South of the UK and London especially are built on clay soil. Here different types of clay with differing water absorption properties expand and contract at different rates. This adds the further risk of one half of a building 'settling' whilst another part 'heaves'. The biggest concern is the risk that the home will need underpinning which can cost 10's of thousands of pounds. Buildings insurance will typically cover some or all of a subsidence claim, often assuming it can be established that the subsidence is ongoing. However insurance premiums will be substantially higher where there is an increaseed risk. It is critical to use a local surveyor with knowledge of local soil types. This will give the surveyor a context as the surveyor will know what to look for but won't over dramatise the situation
The surveyor will also look for indications of shallow foundations, poor drainage, proximate trees (Willow trees are the worst and have been known to affect properties up to 40 metres away!) A Homebuyer Report or building survey will also point out where a crack is perhaps evidence of historical movement but the house has subsequently stabilised. Where there is doubt, further investigation or monitoring will be advised. If you have any specific concerns please contact us before booking your survey.
How will we know what effect will rainfall have on our new home in UK?
Regular rainfall is common in UK and across the country, but the effect which rain has on buildings is rarely considered properly by home buyers. Signs that drainage are damaged include spalling masonry. These issues are, generally speaking, straightforward to remedy. If disregarded, however, the damage can be very costly and time-consuming to remedy.