Before deciding to invest in a property, it is a good idea to get a survey to check for hidden issues and ensure it is structurally sound. In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of survey available.
How is a survey different to a mortgage valuation?
A mortgage provider will carry out a valuation on the property you want to buy to ascertain whether it is worth the agreed price. It is purely for the benefit of the lender, to check if the property can act as security for the loan. They will also look at other aspects of your income including debts such as a directors personal guarantee.
A mortgage valuation is not the same as a house survey, as it often only involves a visit to the outside of a property and won’t look at any potential problems in depth.
Worth the cost?
While a survey is an extra cost, it is important to find out about problems which may end up costing you more in the long run. If you have a directors personal guarantee on your mortgage, the guarantor may want to be reassured about the price. Or if you are a guarantor, being named on a directors personal guarantee could affect your level of borrowing.
Which? recommends that you check if your surveyor is a member of either the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA).
RICS provides three types of surveys. A Level 1 survey, or a Condition Report, will check for urgent defects. A Level 2, or a Home Survey, involves an extensive visual inspection of the property. A Level 3, or a Building Survey, is the most comprehensive and looks at the full structure of a building.