One of the largest investments many people will make in their lives is buying a property and as of June 2016, the average price in the UK is £213,927.
Irrespective of whether you are purchasing a family home or a buy-to-let, you will be investing a considerable amount of money, for a considerable amount of time. It is therefore crucial that you know as much information as possible before purchasing, and one of the best tools to aid you is the experience and knowledge of a Chartered Surveyor.
Chartered Surveyors are regulated by the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), who have a suite of surveys that will provide you with detailed information on either the condition or value of your property. However, despite such useful information being available to homebuyers and investors, less than 20% undertake some form of full, independent survey before purchasing.
This is surprising as the average cost of a home survey in the UK is £400, compared to the £5,750 average cost of repairs faced buy those who bought without any type of independent survey. The RICS have even reported that 17% of new owners faced costs of more than £12,000 to make their homes habitable!
Not convinced? Here are 8 more reasons why an RICS Home Survey is a good investment:
- A Surveyor is a property expert – even the savviest property buyers can struggle to identify underlying, hard to see issues. Much like a Conveyancing Solicitor will meticulously review the title of a property before you purchase it, and advise on any likely issues that may arise in the future, a Surveyor will do some the same for the physical structure. This can help avoid the average repair bill faced by homebuyers who do not commission a survey, of £5,750!
- A mortgage valuation isn’t a survey – despite costing a similar amount, a mortgage valuation is not the same as RICS home survey. They are purely for the benefit of the mortgage lender, who will use it to make a decision on lending against your property. The Surveyor may briefly inspect the property (usually lasting less than 20 minutes), though a “drive by” is more common.
- A Surveyor will inspect the full property – a Surveyor will inspect all areas of your property that are safe and accessible, including the roof, basement and loft space, using specialist equipment. This allows them to produce in-depth reports, even when access is restricted, and spot defects you may have missed or not been able to see.
- A Surveyor can provide you with a market valuation – unlike your estate agents estimate or a mortgage valuation, an independent market valuation is far more substantiated and takes into consideration significant defects. A standalone valuation includes supporting evidence such as comparable properties, while a condition survey will include specific information on defects that are affecting the value of the property. They can therefore be used as an effective negotiation tool and will help ensure you pay the right amount for your property.
- An RICS Surveyor is regulated and unbiased – regulated by the RICS, Chartered Surveyors are held to a strict code of conduct. They have clearly defined professional standards and complaint handling procedures.
This helps to ensure that any parties with an interest in the transaction do not have any influence over the Surveyor and the advice they provide you with meets the highest professional standards.
- A Surveyor can provide an accurate reinstatement value – to ensure you have adequate cover with your building insurance. If you are underinsured, in the event of a claim your settlement may be reduced proportionally to the gap in insurance or rejected altogether. If you are over insured, you may be overpaying on your insurance premium.
- RICS Surveyors hold Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) – which will cover them in the event they miss something in your property, which later costs you money. It therefore acts as a safety net for both you and the Surveyor.
- A Surveyor can advise you how to best grow your investment – they can offer you professional advice about the suitability of potential extensions and the scope of work required. This will help you avoid unforeseen expenses, as well as providing you with information about the returns on such investments.
About the Author:
Zak Arden is the Managing Director of surveybooker.com, a national online brokerage for RICS Chartered Surveyors. You can obtain fixed quotes from local surveyors and book your survey online, by visiting www.surveybooker.com or by contacting Zak Arden on 0333 011 6683.