RICS Home Surveys are property health checks that assess a property’s condition and structure. The best way for you to reach an informed decision on such an important investment as a home.
What is the difference between a mortgage valuation and a survey?
A mortgage valuation is provided by your bank or building society to ensure that in case of your default on the mortgage there is enough equity in the house to pay the bank or building society back. The bank/building society is only interested in repaying the loan plus any fees incurred.
A survey is for you and not the bank or building society and will confirm the condition of the property, noting any defects.
What type of survey do I need?
The RICS produced the Home Survey Standard First Edition November 2019. The main two survey types are Level 2 and Level 3 surveys looking at the condition of the property.
What are the top 10 most common faults with properties?
- Materials containing asbestos
- Cracks to walls
- Condensation and/or rising damp
- Poor quality flat roofs
- Rot to external joinery, especially lower frames and sills
- High external ground levels bridging the damp proof courses
- Leakage from poorly designed shower enclosures
- Poor soundproofing in converted flats
- Substandard electrical or gas installations
- Defects to chimneys
What are the general limitations on Surveys?
It is worth stressing that all standard survey types are non-destructive – in other words it won’t cover areas that cannot be easily accessed, surveyors aren’t usually able to raise carpets or flooring, insulation in roof spaces, or remove contents of cupboards to gain access for example.
Access may also be limited by the current home owner.
If you have any concerns about any specific aspect of the property where access might be restricted, it is worth speaking to the surveyor about the options available prior to inspection, including the possibility of improving access arrangements.
Surveyors will generally not be able to advise on remedial work in many specialist areas such as plumbing and damp proofing, heating, gas or electrical installations as these are regulated professions where only licensed or registered professionals are allowed to work. The Report may highlight observable problems but not offer specific recommendations other than to recommend gaining the appropriate specialist advice.
What should I expect from the Surveyor?
The RICS published the Home Survey Standard First Edition in November 2019 and the Surveyor will meet these standards. However if you have any specific questions you need answered in relation to the property or you have any concerns over elements of the property or the scope of the survey, please feel free to discuss this with us before the inspection as we are more than happy to talk to you prior to and after the inspection.
You should be aware that there are limitations as to what the Surveyor may include in the Report and these are generally areas of the property where access is restricted, eg the roof space, under floor or built in fixtures and fittings. These limitations are not normally known about until the Surveyor is on site. There will be areas where the Surveyor does not have specific expertise or necessary qualifications eg. electrics, heating systems and double glazing. We will accommodate any special concerns that you might have about the property but this may incur additional cost.
Timing and access to the property
Once you have instructed us to carry out the survey we will arrange the visit to the property as soon as practical, which may be within a few days but can be as much as a few weeks depending on the workload and access arrangements to the property. For a survey to take place we must have access to the whole property including any permanent outbuildings and grounds and this, to a certain extent, is the responsibility of the current home owner.
Most sellers use estate agents therefore in some circumstances we are able to collect the keys from them but sometimes a homeowner will insist on being present or have the agent present, particularly if the house is alarmed or there are pets in the home which can lead to delays.
Payment and Reporting
Following inspection of the property we will endeavour to complete the Report within seven working days, if not sooner. We will require payment before the Report is released to you
Questions about the Report
Once you have read the Report, the Surveyor who carried out the Report will be more than happy to discuss the findings with you.
What is a Chartered Surveyor?
Chartered Surveyors are highly qualified and experienced property professionals and members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). To become a Chartered Surveyor individuals must complete a qualifying degree course and the RICS qualification exams. Practicing Chartered Surveyors are regulated by the RICS and must meet their stringent rules of professional conduct and maintain their qualifications through a programme of continued professional development (CPD). There are different grades of RICS membership, denoted by the letters after their name: Assoc RICS (Associate Member), MRICS (Member) or FRICS (Fellow). Membership is for individual Surveyors, companies cannot be members but can be a firm regulated by the RICS.
There are also additional classifications of professional qualifications. To provide a valuation a Chartered Surveyor must also be an RICS Registered Valuer and adhere to the RICS Red Book Procedures for Valuations. The RICS rules are strict and backed by the RICS regulation department. There is a particular emphasis that Chartered Surveyors must be independent, without conflicts of interest, act in the interests of the client, act honourably and carry appropriate Professional Indemnity Insurance for the work they undertake. This means that when you instruct an RICS Chartered Surveyor you can be assured that any work they carry out will be to the highest professional standard.
What is the RICS?
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is the organisation responsible for the training and regulation of Chartered Surveyors.
How does the Surveyor inspect the roof coverings and chimneys?
The survey is undertaken from ground floor or by use of an extendable ladder, eg to view flat roofs etc.
By the very nature of a traditional residential dwelling, visibility of the roof coverings and chimneys can be extremely compromised.
To overcome this, we use a telescopic pole with a Wi-Fi enabled digital camera positioned on the top which connects directly with a mobile phone which in turn relays pictures from the camera to the phone and therefore the operator is able to view exactly what the camera is pointed at. This is normally suitable for the average height property.
In certain circumstances drones can be used, however this is governed by the Civil Aviation Authority.
RICS Home Survey Level 2
This survey covers the main issues pertinent to the majority of conventional housing in the UK. A Level 2 survey should be ample for the large majority of homes built during the last 100 years.
RICS Home Survey Level 3
Appropriate for more complex, larger or older properties, listed buildings and those in need of structural repair. We will advise you to obtain a Level 3 survey if you are either buying a house pre-1850, it is very substantial or the structural integrity of the building may be in doubt.
RICS Home Survey Level 3 Bespoke
Our bespoke report is designed for homes which are 100+ years old, Grade II listed houses, timber framed or houses with thatched roofs. Bespoke reports feature additional advice regarding repair and maintenance.
What our clients say
The survey undertaken by Jonathan revealed structural issues with boundary and retaining walls. After further investigations and obtaining quotes for the work, we negotiated a purchase price reduction of £40,000.
Many thanks for completing and sending the survey so promptly. I am really impressed with the quality and comprehensive content.