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Buying a home? Is a Homebuyer Report Worth the Cost?

Are you thinking about buying a home? You don’t want any nasty surprises after you move in. But is it worth paying for a homebuyer report before sealing the deal?

The term 'survey' is bandied around a lot by estate agents and others involved in buying and selling property. But don’t be confused; there is more than one type of survey which might be useful for a homebuyer according to expert surveyors at www.chekes.co.uk.

Home valuation survey

If you are taking out a mortgage to buy your home, your lender will probably arrange a mortgage valuation, which you will have to pay for. This might cost you around £250-£350.

But, this isn’t a building 'survey'. It simply informs your mortgage lender if the property you want to buy represents good collateral for lending against. You are the borrower, but the cost of this valuation survey will come out of your pocket, and the lender will be the legal owner of the report. If the valuer doesn’t identify a problem during the process, but later it becomes apparent, you will not have a strong case for claiming any compensation.

Homebuyers report

This option is becoming more common among homebuyers. It typically costs around £350 to £450. The homebuyers report is compiled using standards stipulated by Rics (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). It provides a fuller and more detailed description of the property.

You, as the buyer, arrange the surveyor directly, so you will own the final report and if there is any omission or a problem becomes apparent at a later date which was not mentioned in the report, you can sue the surveyor or at least make a claim on their public liability insurance.

Unfortunately, surveyors are very conscious of the potential consequences of such omissions. Homebuyer reports typically have many caveats and exclusions in their content which try to mitigate any potential claims by a homeowner.

When a surveyor does an inspection for a homebuyer report, it is not normal for them to come with equipment, such as ladders. They will not inspect the roof, nor drains or hidden plumbing, among other things. It is also common that they do not test electrical installations or heating systems, although they may recommend that these be done by respective specialists in their final report. This makes some homebuyers feel that the report doesn’t represent good value for money.

Full building survey (structural survey)

The cost for a full structural survey is around £600 to £1,000. This survey involves an investigation of the property in greater detail. You can expect the surveyor to arrive with the necessary equipment, such as ladders and overalls, to conduct an in-depth inspection. The surveyor will normally inspect drains, manholes, behind bath panels, and in some cases, even look under carpeting and floorboards.

If you are considering buying a property which is more than a few years old, a full structural survey is a good idea.

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