When you buy a property, you need to know exactly what you are getting.  It may have a number of problems that you do not notice, but a qualified member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), can help you to see potential costly defects.
Most purchasers obtain a mortgage to finance their new home and rely solely on this to decide if they should proceed to buy.  But be warned a Mortgage Valuation Report, is prepared for your lender to help them decide, if your home is one they wish to lend on and if it offers suitable security.  Your lender is not obliged to provide you with a copy of the Mortgage Valuation Report.
The best way to reach an informed decision, is to have a professional survey and valuation of the property by an RICS Chartered Surveyor.  This report will help you with the following:

  • Make an informed decision, on whether to go ahead with the property to buy.
  • Decide what is a reasonable price to pay for the property.
  • Take account of any repairs or replacements the property needs.
  • Consider if you need any further advice, before exchanging contracts.

The RICS offers three types of surveys:

  • RICS Homebuyers Report (HBR).  This report gives information of the condition of the property and raises issues that may affect the value, plus a market valuation and insurance reinstatement costs and advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance problems.

The report uses the RICS red, amber and green. colour coding system, so as with most things in life, lots of red means be warned.

  • RICS Condition Report (CR).  The CR is similar to the HBR, but unlike the HBR, it will not include a valuation, or an insurance reinstatement figure.  This product, launched in 2011, offers purchasers an interim report, that is more than your lender’s mortgage valuation, but less than an RICS Homebuyers Report.
  • Building Survey (formerly a Structural Survey).  This provides a detailed report on the building, construction and condition.  It is particularly useful, if the property is dilapidated, has been extensively altered, or if you are planning a major conversion or renovation.

In summary, when purchasing a property, seek independent professional advice and obtain your own survey from a qualified RICS member.  For more information visit www.rics.org/propertysurveys.

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