- Q. I’m buying a house and not sure whether I need a survey?
- A. A house purchase is one of the largest sums of money you will ever spend. In an ideal world, there will be no problems, however the reality is that building materials degrade with time and houses and flats have been built with a varying degree of quality, materials and workmanship. As a result the house you are buying is likely to require some maintenance at the very least.A survey will not only pick up major maintenance items, but also the serious issues such as structural movement, damp and timber defects. We estimate that on average, £2,000-£3,000 can be saved against the purchase price as a result of a survey.
In addition, house prices are not growing in the same way they were prior to the economic crash and as a result it is increasing important that you buy with caution. You have no re-dress against a house seller if something should go wrong after purchase.
- Q. I’m buying a house.What sort of survey should I commission?
- A. This depends on your requirements and the age of the property. As a rule of thumb surveys fall into the following categories:
- Snagging Report – Most brand new builds come with a guarantee for 10 years, however the guarantee does not cover everything. You may well be paying a premium for the house as it is brand new and you should expect everything to be completed to a ‘New’ standard. A New Build Condition Report (a.k.a. Snagging Report) will give you a list of things for the builder to put right or finish off before he leaves site as it can sometimes be very difficult to get them back once you’ve moved in.
- Building Survey – A building survey is the most detailed form of survey we provide. Previously known as the Structural Survey, our experienced surveyors will analyse the property, it’s construction and condition and provide a detailed report including advice on how to deal with the various items reported. This survey is generally commissioned on houses built prior to 1930, but is also applicable to more recent property especially if they have been significantly extended.
- RICS Homebuyer Report – Houses built since 1890 can often be surveyed using this standard product set out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The report is classed as an ‘economical’ survey designed to alert you to aspects that might have an impact on value. Serious issues such as structural movement, damp and timber defects are highlighted as well as significant maintenance items that are required. The survey provides information on the construction, condition and advice regarding what steps you should take. It also provides a valuation.
- RICS Condition Report – The RICS have produced a report for those wanting a little more than a basic valuation but not wanting to spend the fees for a Homebuyer or Building Survey. The Condition Report is similar to the Homebuyer Report, however does not include reasoned advice, a valuation, a re-building cost figure or information on the local area. We believe the strength of a survey lies in the reasoned advice we provide clients, and therefore strongly advise you to consider the RICS Homebuyer Report or Building Survey first.
We are happy to discuss your requirements in more detail and advise you accordingly. Please call our office for more information.
- Q. How much do you charge?
- A. This depends greatly on the type, age and size of the property as well as the type of product you require. As a guide, a basic condition report will start at £375 +VAT although the fee will depend on the property and type of survey. Homebuyer Reports and Building Surveys will cost more. Valuations cost from £180 +VAT, residential EPCs from £80 +VAT and commercial EPCs from £250 +VAT.Other work such as Party Wall work and Leasehold Enfranchisement etc. is charged on an hourly basis.
Please contact us for a quote.
- Q. How long does it take for a survey to be carried out?
- A. This depends on the type of survey and the nature of the inspection and how quickly we can gain access. Our booking process is quick and simple and can be completed in a few minutes. In addition, residential EPCs can often be completed within 24-48 hours. As a general rule of thumb, allow 1-2 weeks for a Building Survey, 1 week for an RICS Homebuyer Report / RICS Condition Report and 3-4 days for a valuation.If you have any urgent requests however, we will do our best to accommodate them.
- Q. Do you test the electrics/gas/heating etc?
- A. No. We are not qualified electricians or heating engineers and as such do not test the services. In some reports, we will however check the various services and advise you to have them tested by the appropriate specialists when applicable.
- Q. Do you expose the foundations / walls / floors etc?
- A. Most of our surveys involve entering someone else’s home. As a result we are unable to dig, probe or open up walls or lift floor boards / fitted coverings. If you have a specific concern regarding a hidden element, if you are able to arrange with the owner for this to be exposed prior to our inspection, then we will inspect areas that can be accessed. Please ensure the surveyor is aware of this at the earliest opportunity and certainly prior to the inspection.
- Q. Why do you not cover my area?
- A. We limit ourselves to the area we are familiar with. This allows us to build up local knowledge that helps with the work we do.
- Q. I am selling / renting my house / commercial premises. Why do I need an EPC?
- A. Quite simply, it’s the law. Since 2007 property sold and rented in the UK requires an Energy Performance Certificate. The purpose of this is to help purchasers in making an informed decision and also provide information on what improvements can be made to cut their fuel bills.The good news is that these reports are valid for 10 years and can be re-used. So if you bought your house in 2009, it most likely has an EPC that can be used until 2019.
- Q. I have fallen out with my neighbour but now want to build on the boundary / near to his property. Can he use the Party Wall Act to stop me?
- A. The quick answer is no, however you must comply with the Act or he could take out an injunction to prevent building work from taking place. In addition, if he will not agree to you building on the boundary, you must build entirely on your side of the boundary.
- Q. I have received a Party Wall Notice from my neighbour and am not sure what to do. Can you advise me?
- A. Yes. We are happy to review plans and act on your behalf to ensure that the works do not unduly impact on your property.
- Q. Do I need to comply with the Party Wall Act?
- A. This depends on the development you are planning. Please get in touch with further information.
- Q. My flat has less than 70 years remaining on the lease and I want to sell. What should I do?
- A. Having a lease of less than 70 years will impact on its value. The good news is that if you have owned your flat for more than 2 years you are entitled to a lease extension. We can assist with this, however it is best if you can sort out the lease extension in plenty of time prior to sale.
- Q. My flat has 81 years remaining on the lease. Do I need to extend my lease now?
- A. No, but it may be financially beneficial to do so. Leases extended before the 80 year mark enable you us to ignore something called ‘marriage value’. This is technical jargon, but basically reduces the cost of the lease extension.