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  • When it comes to buying a home in the UK, one crucial step that often gets overlooked during excitement and anticipation is the home survey. Home surveys are a fundamental part of the home-buying process, providing valuable insights into the condition of the property you're considering.

    What Are Home Surveys?

    Home surveys are systematic and thorough inspections of a property's condition and structure. A quarter of homebuyers who didn’t have a survey are hit with unexpected bills for property repairs, which amount to an average of £3,676. These surveys are conducted by qualified professionals known as surveyors who assess various aspects of the property, and the primary goal of a home survey is to identify any issues, defects, or potential problems that could affect the safety, habitability, or value of the property. Helping home buyers avoid unexpected costs.


    Why should you get a home survey done?

    Research from Direct Line Home Insurance suggests nearly 100,000 home sales were completed in the 2019/20 financial year without a survey of the property. On average, 42 per cent of surveys uncover issues with a property before a sale, giving home buyers the able to negotiate before the final sale.

    Home surveys can help:

    1. Identify Issues: When buying a new home, ignorance is not bliss. A home survey helps identify any issues or defects in the property that may not be visible during a standard viewing. This includes structural problems, dampness, roofing issues, electrical or plumbing issues, and more. Uncovering these issues early can prevent costly surprises after the purchase.
    2. Safety: A survey assesses the safety of the property, including identifying potential hazards like faulty wiring or gas systems, which can pose risks to your safety and the safety of your family.
    3. Cost Estimation: The surveyor provides an estimate of the costs needed to address any identified problems. This information can be crucial in negotiating with the seller for repairs or a reduced purchase price.
    4. Valuation: Some types of home surveys, such as the Homebuyer's Report, include a valuation of the property. This valuation can be helpful in assuring buyers are not overpaying for the property, If you are having a mortgage the lender will carryout their own valuation survey.
    5. Informed Decision-Making: Armed with the surveyor's report, you can make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the purchase, renegotiate the price, or even walk away from the deal if the issues are too severe or costly to address.
    6. Insurance and Future Planning: If the survey reveals issues that need immediate attention or repair, you can plan for these expenses and may even use the survey report to negotiate repairs with the seller or factor them into your budget.
    7. Legal Protection: Having a survey conducted may offer legal protection in case issues arise after the purchase that were not disclosed by the seller, that can then be raised by your conveyancer.
    8. Peace of Mind: Ultimately, a home survey provides peace of mind. It ensures you have a clear understanding of the property's condition and any potential problems, helping you make a confident and well-informed decision about one of the most significant investments you'll make in your life.

    Types of Home Surveys

    Let’s understand the different types of home surveys available:

    Condition Report

    This is the most basic type of survey. It provides an overview of the property's condition, highlighting any areas of concern with a simple traffic light system (green for okay, amber for some concerns, and red for serious issues).

    Homebuyer's Report (Homebuyer's Survey and Valuation)

    This survey is more detailed and includes an assessment of the property's condition, valuation, and advice on necessary repairs. It's suitable for conventional properties in reasonable condition.

    Building Survey (Structural Survey)

    The most comprehensive survey, recommended for older or unusual properties. It offers a thorough examination of the property's structure and condition, covering everything from the roof to the foundations.

    How Much Do Home Surveys Cost?

    The cost of a home survey varies depending on the type of survey and the property's size and location. Here's a rough estimate of what you can expect to pay: 

    According to a recent survey done by comparemymove.com, a UK house survey costs between £290-£1,390, depending on the survey you need and the value of the property. 

    It's worth noting that these are approximate figures, and prices can differ significantly based on regional variations and the surveyor's fees. While it may seem like an additional expense, a home survey can potentially save you money in the long run by identifying issues that could be costly to repair.

    How Long Do Home Buyer Surveys Take?

    The duration of a home survey depends on the type of survey and the property's size and complexity. Here's a general idea:

    • Condition Report: Usually completed in a few hours.
    • Homebuyer's Report: Typically takes around 2-4 hours.
    • Building Survey: Can take a day or longer, depending on the property's size and condition.

    After the survey, the surveyor will provide a detailed report that may take a week or more to receive. It's crucial to be patient and not rush this process, as the information in the report is invaluable for making informed decisions about your potential home purchase.

    What happens after a home survey is completed?

    Receipt of the Survey Report

    The surveyor will compile their findings and observations into a detailed survey report. This report will outline the condition of the property, any issues or defects identified, and may include recommendations for further action.

    Reviewing the Survey Report

    The buyer, review the survey report carefully and pay close attention to any significant issues or concerns raised by the surveyor. If you have any concerns or queries please talk to your conveyancer and forward the survey as this won’t automatically be sent to them,

    Discussing the Findings

    If the survey report identifies any issues or defects that were not previously known, the buyer may discuss these findings with their solicitor or conveyancer. Depending on the nature and severity of the issues, they may decide on the appropriate course of action.

    Negotiations with the Seller

    If significant issues are identified in the survey, the buyer may enter negotiations with the seller. They may request that necessary repairs be made before the sale proceeds, or they may negotiate a reduction in the purchase price to account for the cost of addressing the issues.

    Proceeding with the Purchase

    Depending on the outcome of negotiations and discussions, the buyer will decide whether to proceed with the purchase as originally agreed, with any agreed-upon repairs or adjustments to the purchase price, or they may choose to withdraw from the transaction if the issues cannot be resolved satisfactorily.

    Legal and Mortgage Considerations

    The survey report may impact the legal and mortgage aspects of the transaction. If the report reveals significant issues, the lender may require that certain repairs be completed before finalising the mortgage. The buyer's solicitor or conveyancer will work through these details.

    Completion of the Transaction

    Once any necessary negotiations and arrangements are finalised, the property transaction proceeds to completion. This involves the transfer of funds, the signing of legal documents, and the transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. 

    Home surveys are a vital part of the home-buying journey, offering peace of mind and potentially saving you from unexpected expenses. While they come with a cost and may take some time to complete, the investment is well worth it to ensure that your dream home doesn't turn into a costly nightmare. When considering a home survey, always hire a qualified and experienced surveyor to get the most accurate and reliable assessment of your prospective property. 

    Are you ready to navigate the complexities of property transactions with confidence and expertise? Trust Hegarty Solicitors to guide you through the legal aspects of buying or selling your home. Our experienced team is here to ensure your interests are protected every step of the way. Contact us today for a consultation and let's get started on your journey toward a seamless property transaction.  

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