Understanding why you need a survey carried out

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By Ian Lee BSc

FRICS director at McAndrew Martin

Chartered Surveyors in Portsmouth

and twice past chairman of the

Portsmouth Property Association.

SO the housebuying season is here again and you’ve found your dream property, probably after looking at quite a few.

A number of questions and tasks now have to be addressed, one of which is ‘do I need or have to get a survey carried out?’

As a surveyor I frequently get asked this question and many people get very confused as to the type of survey they should commission.

There are basically three types of survey, the most basic been the mortgage valuation which does little more than advise the lendor or purchaser that the property is worth the money and that the loan is secure.

The second type of survey is called the ‘Homebuyer Survey and Valuation’.

This is a standard report produced in a standard format and is designed very much as an economical report.

It is intended only for a particular type of property which is usually conventional in type and construction and apparently in reasonable condition.

It does tend to focus on defects and problems which are urgent or significant and which may have an effect on the value of the property.

It also includes other valuable information as well as a valuation and insurance rebuild assessment.

This report can be a valuable tool in trying to negotiate the purchase price as it will give you a list of any serious defects found.

The Building Survey is a much more comprehensive report and is usually tailored to the client’s individual requirements.

This report is particularly suitable for older character properties or for something which is unusual or completely different.

This doesn’t have a standard format and allows the surveyor much more scope to enlarge on the property and more importantly its problems and to give advice if needed.

Choosing your surveyor is as important as choosing the right type of survey.

Do they have experience of looking at the particular type of property and most importantly do they have local knowledge as very often this can provide useful information about defects which are relevant perhaps to a certain area or type of property within that locality.

You should always ask your surveyor how long they have been practising in the locality in which the property is situated. After more than 20 years of surveying properties in and around the Portsmouth area many times I have come across an ‘out of area’ surveyor who quite simply does not have the required local knowledge to enable them to produce a satisfactory report for their client.

Most importantly make sure that your surveyor is a member of the Portsmouth Property Association. By doing so you can be assured that your surveyor is not only local but that you will also get a first class professional service as well.