FAQs: Survey

Do I need a survey?

A property is perhaps the most expensive and important purchase you make in your lifetime. A survey provides peace of mind that the house is structurally sound, helps you budget and distinguish between urgent and non-urgent repairs and provide information on the property’s construction in general. Additionally, a survey can uncover defects that may not be visually apparent to the buyer on a brief property viewing, giving you adequate warning and advice before you exchange contracts.

What types of survey are there?

There are three typical levels of survey that we offer at Property Formula

  1. Letter of Condition – a simple overview of the property in letter format, detailing the property’s construction and general condition internally and externally, with a list of recommendations for repairs and improvements to be made. This is a suitable report for a modern property just outside of its NHBC guarantee or a modern apartment.
  2. Homebuyer Report – offered with or without a valuation and rebuild cost subject to preference and budget. This survey report is more detailed than the Letter of Condition and is divided into specific sections for external and internal elements of the property. A colour coded “traffic light” condition rating system helps identify minor, long term and urgent repairs. Commentary is also made on the local environment including Radon and flood risk. This is a suitable report for modern property from the 1930s onwards.
  3. Building Survey – The most comprehensive written report that details as much as can be seen from a ground level inspection. This report covers the construction, condition and repairs of the property. Recommendations are given for short term, medium term and long-term repairs, as well as maintenance considerations, particularly for period property. We typically recommend this survey type for property over 100 years old.

We also offer the following services that offer more specific advice

  1. Major Defects Survey – Similar to the letter of condition but offers more detail and focus on the structural elements of the property
  2. Specific Defects Survey – Letter format, typically offering advice on one type of defect, such as suspected structural movement or damp
  3. Snagging List – For new Build properties.

Why use a RICS Registered Valuer?

The RICS Valuation Registration is the worlds leading qualification for valuation professionals. You can expect the highest standard of service, openness and transparency and clear reporting. RICS Valuers adhere to the professional standards of both RICS and International Valuation Standard Council. Being regulated by the RICS also ensures adequate professional indemnity insurance and a complaints handling procedure, to protect their clients.

Probate – do I need a RICS valuer?

While Residential Estate Agents can offer Market Appraisals for Probate purposes, these are not formal written RICS valuations and as such could not be relied upon in court. Given the inheritance tax implications of a Probate Valuation, it is important to select an impartial professional valuer that adheres to RICS Valuation Standards and Ethical Practice.

Is there anything a survey won’t tell me?

We are not gas engineers or electricians, so it is important to bear in mind that even on a building survey the services are not fully tested. We can advise on the general state, condition and approximate age of the installations but we recommend you seek the advice of a suitably qualified contractor in the absence of any recent safety paperwork from the vendor. There will always be limits to what can be seen from a ground level inspection, including flaunchings to chimneys, obscured roof valleys, elevations hidden beneath render or cladding, floor coverings, loft insulation and the number of furnishings and fittings.

How much does it cost to have a survey?

Each survey is costed proportionately based on its size, condition, location, age and the extent of alterations and outbuildings that require inspecting and reporting on. If you send us the property details, we will come back to you with a quote by the end of the working day.

How quickly can you do the survey?

Typically, we book our survey inspections with 7 days and turn around reports within 3 working days. Reports are only released on receipt of payment of our invoice, but payment is not required upfront. We invoice on the day of payment.

Do you have terms and conditions?

Terms of business are available to download on our website. Individual terms for the specific survey type are emailed at the time of the quotation.

What is RICS?

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveys is a global professional body enforcing the highest international standards in the valuation, management and development of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure.

Do I need a structural engineer?

A structural engineer will be recommended in the event suspected structural movement is found or if calculations are required to remove loadbearing walls or alter the property internally.

Do I need a survey on a new build?

  • Even a newly built property can have defects arise, with cracking to be expected within the first two years as the property settles on its foundations and materials expand and contract through changes in temperature in summer and winter.
  • Though snagging periods are often agreed upon between the purchaser and developer, it is not always clear what is covered and when issues will be actioned. NHBC will cover damage to specific parts of the home for 10 years, but it is worth having an independent professional survey of the property carried out to identify any existing issues before you complete your purchase.
  • A letter of condition can give you a general overview of the property for your peace of mind. We also offer snagging lists that give a room my room account of any snagging issues. We recommend that we inspect prior to exchange of contracts while the property is still empty. Often the developers will correct the issues raised between exchange and completion. We can also reinspect at your request to confirm the issues have been addressed satisfactorily.

If you're looking for great property advice, please contact us today to discuss your requirements, or complete our survey enquiry form if you'd like to book a property survey.