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Which is Best – A Home Buyer’s Report or Full Structural Survey?

14 July, 2017

You’re thinking about buying a residential property.  London homes are exceptionally expensive, and the last thing you want to do is buy a lemon. A full structural survey is your best friend under these circumstances, the perfect way to identify issues with the fabric of the building and its construction. It’s also perfect to use as a handy ‘snagging list’ once the purchase has gone through.

On the other hand you might only need a Home Buyer’s Report, which is simpler and cheaper. Here’s what you can expect from a Full Structural Survey carried out by a professional London surveyor, as compared to a basic Home Buyer’s Report

What is a Home Buyer’s Report?
A basic Home Buyer’s Report is often the most sensible option if you’re buying a property built in a standard way, from standard materials, that’s less than 30 years old and appears to be in reasonable condition. These reports are designed to help you make an informed decision about whether to go ahead and buy or not. It tells you if the property is good value for money and reveals whether you need to take any special decisions or actions before exchanging contracts.

A good London surveyor will assess the property’s overall condition, identifying any major faults in areas of the building they can access that might affect the price. They’ll pin down any urgent problems that need inspecting by a specialist and let you know about damp in the walls, timber damage including rot and woodworm, and the condition of the damp proofing, insulation and drainage, without actually testing the drains. They will also calculate the estimated rebuilding cost, which is really useful for insuring the building. And they’ll assess the property’s true value on the open market to make sure you’re not .

About full structural surveys
A full structural survey costs more, takes a lot longer and delves a lot deeper, providing a thorough, finely-detailed assessment of the property. It’s ideal of you’re considering a listed building, a place more than 30 years old, or somewhere made of non-standard materials (anything other than regular brick, stone and tile). It’s also wise to have the full survey when you want to extend the property or alter it in some other way. And if the property has already been extensively altered, it makes sense to have it looked at in detail to make sure the alterations have been carried out properly and safely.

The surveyor’s report will contain a wealth of detail about the construction of the property, the materials it’s made of and all the structural problems, large and small. You will know what defects you’ll need to deal with and exactly what needs to be done, plus roughly what the repairs and renovations should cost.

The survey will detail the results of damp testing and damage to wood, including rot and insects. While the drains themselves aren’t tested, the surveyor will highlight any potential drainage issues as well as looking at the quality and condition of damp proofing and insulation. They’ll provide insight into the technical side of the construction and the materials used, and will recommend special extra inspections if it turns out they’re necessary.

Last but not least, if you think you’ve spotted a potential problem yourself, your surveyor can carry out a special Defect Report for you, focusing on the issue to give you the information you need to assess the risks, benefits and expenses involved in putting things right.

Can we help?
As highly experienced professional London surveyors we’ll be delighted to assess the property you’re thinking about buying, providing you with the peace of mind you need to buy with confidence, in the knowledge that you are fully aware of all the building’s quirks, issues and potential problems.

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