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We work with RICS qualified surveyors around the country who offer high-quality property surveys at a great price. Surveyor Local gives you peace of mind about your future property, and offers RICS Level 2 Survey, RICS Level 3 Survey and Property Valuations.
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Home Buyers Survey
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The content of survey reports will vary considerably due to factors including the age, type, location and condition of the property, and materials used in its construction.
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Survey reports can be large files containing many photos of a property. On slower connections these files may take a short while to download.
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Should we go for a Full Structural Survey, RICS Level 3 Survey or RICS Level 2 Survey on a home in UK and which is cheaper?
The Full Structural Survey has been renamed by RICS as a RICS Level 3 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 RICS Level 3 Survey.
If you are planning to do any major works on the UK property, you should you go for a RICS Level 3 Survey. The RICS Level 3 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 022 4428 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 RICS Level 2 Survey, the RICS Level 3 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:
RICS Level 2 Survey - 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 RICS Level 2 Survey is usually the best choice. The report is delivered in a standardised format for easy reference. The RICS Level 2 Survey includes a valuation.
RICS Level 3 Survey - A more in-depth survey of a property, including all accessible areas of a home. RICS recommend the RICS Level 3 Survey for older properties, or those of non-standard construction. RICS Level 3 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.
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 RICS Level 2 Survey or RICS Level 3 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.
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 RICS Level 2 Survey 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.
Does a surveyor check for insect infestation, e.g. house longhorn beetle?
An infestation of wood boring insects can be a serious problem if left untreated. There are 3 main types of insect that account for the majority of infestations discovered by surveyors: Furniture Beetle Account for approximately 3/4 of infestations and particularly common in mid 20th century homes. In fact surveyors find evidence of insect activity in most period homes. Deathwatch Beetle is more common in period properties i.e. 19th century and earlier Wood Boring Weevil common where timbers have had prolonged exposure to damp.
It is worth mentioning that during a RICS Level 2 Survey, the surveyor does not take up carpets, floor coverings or floorboards, move furniture, remove the contents of cupboards, roof spaces and so on etc. This means that if not exposed, the surveyor will not pick up on insect activity. The RICS Level 2 Survey will however consider all aspects of the construction to assess the potential for damage to hidden timbers. However if you are buying a property in a higher risk category (e.g. over 100 years old) we will advise you to carry out a more extensive 'RICS Level 3 Survey' which is slightly more expensive but more in depth.
If an insect infestation is discovered, surveyors are often able to suggest less costly remedial action than some specialist firms might suggest.
Chemical treatments or replacement if timber treatment may not required and often the infestation is no longer active. It might be that a change to the environment will be sufficient to kill off the insects. This is a good example of how a Home Buyers Survey could save you money as you may otherwise be convinced of a need for more costly action. If infestation is discovered, your surveyor will advise you about your options.
What local Authority is my prospective property in and will it impact on the surveyors report?
Although Chartered surveyors understand planning law and practice, neither a RICS Level 2 Survey or RICS Level 3 Survey will comment on the existence of appropriate planning permissions for any existing modifications at the property.
However your conveyancing solicitor will ensure that suitable planning permission is in place before you exchange coontracts. If you are buying a property and intend to modify or extend it, you may need to get planning permission. Obtaining it can be complicated, expensive and protracted. The surveyor won't be able to advise you as to the likelihood of obtaining planning for any planned works you intend to carry out as part of the RICS Level 2 Survey or RICS Level 3 Survey service. However further consultation with a planning expert is advised if you need further information.
Local authorities now provide a wealth of information on the planning process and this has now been centralised at the centralised government planning portal. Update September 6th, 2012: The Government has announced a 3 year relaxation of planning rules to boost the ailing building industry. Measures include allowing home owners to extend by up to 8 metres without permission.
Full details of the initiative are yet to be unveiled so watch this space.