December 18, 2015

What’s the difference between a Home Buyers Report and a Building Survey?

Whether it is a first house purchase you are making or your latest, the process does not change that much and neither does the emotion and added stress. For most people a house is the single most expensive purchase they will ever make and it is important that every house bought is suitable for the purchaser. Every house from a 1 bedroomed studio flat through to a multi million-pound mansion can have faults either through natural degradation, misuse or as a consequence of poor building standards. Finding out about these issues after you have purchased a property is inconvenient at the least and can end up costing a large amount of money to correct.

The way to discover these types of issues before committing to buy a property is to instruct a survey to be completed on the house. These surveys will bring any of these issues to your attention and allow you to raise it with the seller before you complete on the sale. This generally will allow you to negotiate he price with the seller to take into account the contents of the survey and you will generally be able to either have the price of the repairs taken of the sale price, or have the work completed to a satisfactory standard before you complete.

Clearly having a survey is a highly important part of the property purchase process, however some people can become overwhelmed by the options available to them and are sometimes choosing a survey that goes way beyond their requirements. There are two major surveys that most people will choose, although the differences are not as clear as they can be. Normally there will either be a Home Buyers Report or a Building Survey completed and which one depends on the property that you are wanting surveyed. This article will explain the differences between the two and give you some assistance in understanding which is the best one for you.

Home Buyers Report

A Home Buyers Report is the less detailed of the two we are looking at, although it will still give details of defects and any issues that are concerning the surveyor. The Home Buyers Report is predominantly suited to newer properties and those that are built in a conventional manner and appear to be in a better condition than others. This is due to the nature of the survey and the fact that it is non-intrusive, meaning that the survey is undertaken by sight and without removing any items such as wallpaper.

The Home Buyers Report will give you detailed information about any work that is required, any aspects of the house that do not meet the current building regulations and they will also be able to point out any issues such as subsidence or damp. Generally, the survey will take between two and four hours to complete, depending on the size of the property and will give you a good idea of the overall condition of the property without delving deeper.

Building Survey

A full Building Survey is the most thorough you can get, therefore it is best suited to older buildings or ones that are evidently in a poor state of repair. This survey will provide the most comprehensive breakdown of the condition of the property and investigates the buildings condition further than a Home Buyers Report. With this survey the surveyor will move furniture and look behind items for further evidence of any structural damage. Upon completion you will receive a very detailed report that will detail all elements of disrepair or areas of concern, giving a very clear picture of the overall condition of the house. Due to the fact they inspect under the floorboards and in the walls, a building survey is a very reliable source with highly accurate estimates for the cost of repairs.

If you are in the process of buying a property you should begin to talk with your preferred surveyor, or at least find a surveyor that would be able to undertake the work. When you speak to a prospective surveyor they will be able to give you guidance as to the type of survey that would best suit your prospective property. Not having a survey leaves you at risk from large bills and repair work to your dream home further down the line, just because something is not immediately obvious does not mean that it is not there – this is where the experience of a qualified building surveyor can pay dividends.

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the property industry – working together with a selection of companies including Chartered Surveyors Chiltern Associates, who were consulted over the information contained in this piece.