I'm buying a property - what is the difference between a survey and searches?
When buying a property you will need to have surveys and searches carried out and people often get confused as to the difference between the two. Searches are carried out by your conveyancer/legal advisor whereas surveys will usually be carried out by your mortgage provider or an independent property surveyor.
Searches are enquiries that your conveyancer will make to various organisations about the property. There are many different searches that may need to be carried out depending on the type of property and its location but the most common are:
- Local Authority: Made to the local council relating to the area around the property e.g. looking to see if there are plans to build a motorway at the bottom of the garden.
- Drainage & Water: The local water authority will confirm flow of water to and from the property, positions of pipes and drains and whether the property is on a meter or rates.
- Environmental: e.g Whether the property has been built on a landfill or a known flood area.
If you are using a mortgage to buy your property then your mortgage company will need to check that the property is worth the money that they are lending to buy it by carrying out a valuation. You will normally need to pay for the mortgage valuation and you can then choose to have a further, more detailed survey carried out if neccessary. The price of the survey generally increases with the level of detail involved.
- Basic valuation: This is only a very basic report detailing the value of the property. It may make some comment about the physical condition of the property and should identify any obvious physical defects that may affect the value of the property.
- Condition Report: Most suitable for new builds or reasonably new homes in good condition. Uses a traffic light system to rate the condition of various areas of the property but does not offer any advice or a valuation.
- Homebuyers Report: A more thorough report that will assess the same areas as above and also offer an insurance reinstatement value (i.e what it would cost to rebuild if it burnt down).
- Building Survey: A detailed structural report that will look at all areas of the property including any cellars and attics and will offer advice on suggested repairs including costs involved, timescales and what may happen if improvements aren't made. This type of survey is most useful for properties that are very old, unusual, timber-framed or have a thatched roof.
20th July 2016
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