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Undertaking a home buyers survey in Northern Ireland

Home buyer surveys are essential for the protection of purchasers and their lenders. Whilst sellers are obliged to disclose information about the property, the basic underlying agreement is that the buyer takes the property as it is sold. These surveys are a good way to highlight where there may be unexpected costs further down the line and will give you a good idea of how much you need to invest in your new home after you buy it.

What is a house survey?

A house survey is a professional inspection of a property’s condition. These inspections are carried out by a licensed charter surveyor or valuer who will visit the property that is for sale and create a report that outlines any problems that they have found during their investigation, allowing you to budget for any work that needs doing to rectify these problems.

Depending on the information you receive from the survey, you might decide to renegotiate the price of the property, or in some cases, if the damage is too costly, you might reconsider whether this is the right property for you.

What are the different types of house surveys?

There are several different housing surveys available and the survey most suitable for you as a purchaser will depend on your budget and the depth of assessment that you require.
The 3 main types of house surveys are:

Condition Report (Level 1)

A Condition Report is the most basic type of survey that you can get. It is suitable for new-build properties and conventional homes that are in good condition.

This report uses a traffic light system to indicate the condition of the different parts of the property. Green shows the area is good, amber shows there is some cause for concern and red signals that serious repairs are required.

Homebuyer Report (Level 2)

A Homebuyer Report is the most popular type of survey for most houses that are in a reasonable condition.

The Homebuyer Report is a non-intrusive visual inspection in which the surveyor will inspect the visible areas of your property and report any defects they find. The surveyor will not lift floorboards or look behind furniture etc. If you require a more detailed survey, then the Building Survey (Level 3) may be what you are searching for.

Building Survey (Level 3)

Previously known as a Structural Survey, this is the most comprehensive survey and can take a couple of days to complete.

A level 3 survey provides an in-depth analysis of both the property’s structure and condition, making it a great survey choice for older buildings, unusual designs or in a poor condition. You will be given a detailed report at the end including advice on repairs, provide estimated timings and costs, and will tell you what will happen if you do not do these repairs.

How much is a survey on a house?

The cost of a housing survey will depend on the location, size and type of property in question. How much you will pay for a survey also depends on which type you choose.

  • Condition Reports usually start around £250 but prices can vary according to the size of the property.
  • Homebuyer Report, prices can start at around £400. If you opt for a valuation alongside this survey, then you may be charged an extra £100 – £150 depending on the size of the property.
  • A Building Survey is the most extensive and, therefore the most expensive housing survey. This option can cost between £600 and £2,000, depending on the size of the property.

Where to find a surveyor?

You will be able to find a qualified, professional, and knowledgeable surveyor on the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) website.

Members of the RICS are closely regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and each surveyor must follow stringent codes of conduct to ensure high standards are maintained in the public interest.
You know know that the property which you are buying is safe, sound and overall good value for money. McPartland & Sons Solicitors have a dedicated team to help you with any legal aspects of your home survey that you may require guidance with, feel free to contact one of our team who will be happy to assist.

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