I'm confused: Which Surveyor Local surveys include a valuation and cost of rebuild estimate, and how is it calculated for a property I’m buying in central London?
A HomeBuyer Report will contain an impartial valuation and a reinstatement cost (which also incorporates the cost of rebuilding any outbuildings, such as a garage), which are included in the fee of the survey.
To calculate the market value of the property in question, your RICS valuer will combine their awareness of the London property market with other considerations relating to the property:
- accommodation (that is, the number of rooms within it)
- the size of any garden that comes with it
- the architecture and construction type
- assumptions that can be made, such as there being no major problems with the building, or that there are no serious legal issues (like issues with access to the property over estate roadways)
- proximity to amenities and transport links
- environmental considerations (e.g. how prone the area is to flood, or if the home is under a flightpath)
A Building Survey won't include a valuation as standard, but one can be added for a nominal fee. Alternatively, a Property Valuation Report (PVR) can be performed, if you are only interested in receiving a valuation and not an assessment of the structural integrity.
If you want to know more about the differences between Surveyor Local’s services and products, you can compare the surveys. Or, to get your quick and easy survey quote, try our online form by scrolling back to the top of this page. But, if you’re ready to appoint your surveyor, call our team now on 0800 038 6667 and we’ll get you started.
Our future neighbour in London has warned us about vermin affecting some of the nearby properties; how do we investigate further?
Pests like mice may sometimes seem a small, even irrelevant, matter when buying a house in London, because they are viewed as a common sight, particularly in older buildings.
However, this issue should be taken seriously, as it may not be obvious that a property is suffering a severe pest problem. This is because evidence can be overlooked, such as mouse droppings behind fitted cupboards, chewed food packets, or the sounds of scuttling in the loft space.
As another example, while termites are still rare in the UK, they may be present in imported timber. They are capable of almost hollowing out beams before they are discovered and can therefore put the structural integrity of a home at serious risk.
Treatment for bug or other pest issues may include the use of poison, and you should not attempt to clear the problem yourself in this way without obtaining professional guidance. Your surveyor will be able to check for the existence of any pests, but, if you are aware of any local concerns, you should let your surveyor know so that they can target their investigations.
For more advice, you can talk to a pest control expert, or call Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667 to discuss your needs. If you want to get your survey under way today, you can call our friendly team, who will be happy to set up an appointment.
A home we intend to buy in London is apparently built on clay soil. Will a Property Survey report on this, and does the chartered surveyor provide any advice on its maintenance?
The content of soil around the foundations of a London property will almost certainly have an impact, with issues ranging from compression of layers of the subsoil to swelling of the soil, both of which can put a property's foundations under great strain.
In London's relatively mild climate, the variations in volume which clay soil experiences will be barely noticeable but extended dry or wet spells may well impact the soil's stability, affecting the property itself. For example, the small cracks found in the kitchen floor may turn out to be benign, or they could be a clue that should prompt a more thorough investigation.
A London surveyor will consider any clay-soil-related concerns when performing the survey assessment and they will advise you accordingly should you need to take any action now or in the future. In some more extreme cases, the building foundations may need extra support, but this can be costly, particularly where access to the foundations is limited by the constrictions of the neighbouring properties.
For your instant London Home Survey quote, you can visit Surveyor Local’s website (or scroll to the top of this page), which has a very simple form to fill in, or, if you’d prefer to talk to someone about your plans, call our team of survey advisers on 0800 038 6667.
We are buying an 1890s conversion with stone walls in London; are there any specific issues to consider?
Stone walls used in the construction of a home are often ignored by homebuyers due to their perceived strength and solidity.
The problems which can plague poorly-maintained stone will vary considerably. Bear in mind that some defects will affect stone that has a regular cut (sharp corners and lines) or irregular cut (more ‘natural’ in appearance) equally, whereas others will not, and may require a local surveyor’s expertise to identify whether the defect exists and what the impact on the structure might be now and in the long term.
The choice of stone will impact the lifespan of a structure (for example, slate is far more water-resistant than many other stones and will therefore be more hard wearing).
Homebuyers Surveys will offer guidance on these matters, which is why it’s so important for you to investigate getting a surveyor in to look over your planned purchase. Call our friendly team of advisers on 0800 038 6667 to organise your free survey quote, or, if you’re ready, you can pay 10% of the cost online now to secure a surveyor.
We are intending to buy a ground floor apartment in London; does the residential surveyor look for evidence of flooding?
According to the 2009 report by the Environment Agency, 5.2m homes (that’s around 1 in every 6) are at risk from some sort of flooding, with over half (2.8m) susceptible to surface flooding and flood damage.
And, with the developing extreme climatic events and the increased likelihood of flooding where problems didn’t previously exist, it’s not clear that reasonably-priced flooding insurance will be available in years to come as insurance providers ramp up their premiums to cope with the increased number and severity of the claims.
As with many aspects of home ownership, flood prevention is better (and cheaper) than a cure. Flooding can increase the likelihood of water entering a London home, such as via window-frames or through the air bricks. Preventative measures can include costly but effective solutions (e.g. the use of lime-based plaster on walls).
The surveyor may ask the estate agent about historical floods, although the result of these enquiries should be treated as a guide only. But they will probe the home to establish whether any evidence of flooding exists, how recent it is and what the impact is. For peace of mind, it therefore makes complete sense to order a survey on any purchase you are considering.
Want to find out more about the surveys? Need to get an experienced surveyor to look at your planned new home? You can secure a surveyor with Surveyor Local now by paying 10% of the quote online. If you’re ready to get your survey under way, call our waiting friendly team on 0800 038 6667.
I suspect there might be painted-over asbestos ceiling tiles in the house in London. Why would there be asbestos, is it dangerous, can it be remedied, and what should I do?
Homes erected before the mid-eighties might contain some asbestos-based materials, since, at that time, it was treated as a kind of miracle substance because of its high-tensile strength, and fire-retardant and sound-proofing qualities.
Technically, all forms of asbestos are ultimately deadly, and may lead to lung cancer, following prolonged exposure, although it should be noted that inhaling a single fibre is not fatal.
If asbestos is found in your home, care should be taken on no account to break it, and professional advice must be taken without delay. Getting rid of it will be costly but essential and must be carried out by experts.
Surveyors will not verify the presence of asbestos on a survey. However, they will mention the potential for asbestos if it is suspected and will inform you of the various options open to you.
For help in finding an expert, go to Asbestos Removal Contractors Association.
Anxious to get your survey sorted out and under way? Try our online form by scrolling to the top of this page to get your quick and easy quote or call our team of friendly advisers on 0800 038 6667 to appoint your surveyor today.
When I was shown a flat I would like to buy in London, there appeared to be old wiring throughout; will the surveyor report on any faults with the electrics?
When preparing a HomeBuyer Report in London, your RICS surveyor will highlight the condition of the electrics if it is suspected that they are in a poor state of repair. This includes a visual examination of the exposed areas of wiring and the fuse-box, in addition to inspecting the category of the electrical fittings in bathrooms or verifying the condition of a representative sample of the range of light fittings and switch gear. All the findings will appear in your survey report.
Verifying the existence of the documents from the most recent Periodic Inspection Report (PIR) (as validated by a suitably-qualified electrician) will also form part of the survey. The Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) advises that an electrical check should be carried out at least every ten years (or every five, if you are letting the property out).
For one of the best surveyors available, contact Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667, or you can pay 10% of the quoted amount online to secure their services.
My partner and I are purchasing an older converted house in London. Will the age of the home be a concern regarding its upkeep?
Use of traditional methods can be a cause of concern for would-be buyers, and London property that was built using traditional methods can be expensive to maintain.
It is often the case that expert knowledge is necessary, and you could also be required to find sympathetic construction materials, such as matching stone or wood, particularly if the building is listed or in a conservation area (this s very likely if the neighbouring houses are similarly constructed).
For more advice on your next steps, why not talk to Surveyor Local’s team of survey advisers on 0800 038 6667? Or you can appoint an experienced surveyor with us today and get your structural assessment under way.