Surveys – one size fits all or is bespoke best?

This is a great blog from Right Surveyors – the national group of surveying specialists. We work with local surveyors on property transactions and advise purchasers on the legal aspects of a survey. Please note this article is their advice and not Morrisons Solicitors advice in relation to Surveys.

Not all surveys were born alike.

It’s a common misconception by property purchasers that surveys are expensive, slow to arrange, even slower to arrive and tedious to trawl through. Whilst that maybe the case from some providers, a firms of surveyors really focussed on customer service – of which there are fortunately many – will provide you with a wide range of options and an efficient delivery process.

In this blog, we take a look at some of the survey types provided by the Right Surveyors – a group of surveying practices located across England and Wales. Whilst this won’t represent all surveyors, we would always advise a client only to choose a surveyor who can really satisfy their particular needs – with budget, property and time constraints in mind.

Acquisition Advice

Firstly, it’s a misconception that a surveyor’s advice can only be delivered in an expensive report. Most surveyors charge for their time, so many offer a verbal service. It takes half the time, as the surveyor doesn’t need hours in the office; which means half the fee for you.

The surveyor inspects your property, investigates for any defects or interesting features and reports to you verbally – on site or over the telephone. In fact, this can be incredibly useful – you can openly discuss your plans for the future, your concerns and your maintenance considerations; all with candid honesty from a surveyor who doesn’t need to incur liability with every written word.

As the Director of our surveying practice in Manchester commented:

“I’d hate to think that a client who could really benefit from a surveyor’s advice proceeds to purchase without it, because they feared the expense of a written report. I can provide a verbal report at a much lower fee – you get the information immediately, you can take your own notes and you can pick my brains about your plans. I think it’s a great option, particularly if you’re tight on budget or time.”

House Purchase Survey (HPS)

Sometimes, a verbal report just isn’t enough. You might want to use a written report to negotiate a better purchase price. Your property might be older, more complex or more individual than could be covered with just a verbal report. You might need a deeper level of detail for a particular issue that a verbal breakdown and short inspection just couldn’t cover.

Whatever the reason, a House Purchase Survey provides a cost-effective written report which is built around the property you’re purchasing. It’s bespoke, so the surveyor can spend more time on the important findings and less time on the superficial aspects like decorative state.

You don’t need to know that a child drew on the lounge wall with a crayon, but you do need to know if subsidence is going to deny you or a future purchaser a mortgage.

RICS HomeBuyer Report (HBR)

There are less bespoke options available, like the HomeBuyer report. Based on a standardised format and a traffic light system, it’s a value-for-money service which will highlight to you any serious issues which might impact the value of your investment.

Whilst not as strong for owner-occupiers as the more comprehensive House Purchase Survey, the HBR is generally pitched at a lower fee level and is more concise and typically easier to read.

Full Building Survey

If there’s room in the budget, this is the service you should be asking for quotes on.

The most comprehensive survey available, the surveyor will spend hours at the property carefully investigating each aspect. Like the HPS, the document will be bespoke, but the level of detail is considerably greater.

Ultimately, furnished with such a report you will know everything there is to know about the building you are buying. You will be able to plan your maintenance spending years ahead, budget for repairs before settling on a purchase price and understand the way the structure fits together.

It’s often not cheap (£600 – £1000+), but a well written building survey from a good quality chartered surveyor is worth every penny – and more.

When speaking to a Surveyor, whether in person or over the phone, you need to make sure that you find out how local they really are. A local Surveyor will not only be able to provide you with a cheaper service as they won’t have to put in travelling costs but they will have good knowledge of the area and it’s property prices.

About the author:

The Right Surveyors are a nationwide group of surveying companies. With 19 offices across England & Wales, we take pride in the comprehensiveness of our reports, the efficiency of our service and the competitiveness of our fees.

You can find out more by visiting www.rightsurveyors.co.uk

For details of Morrisons Solicitors Residential Conveyancing services click here


Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this newsletter/blog are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.

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