We deal with first time buyers every day of the week. This is likely your first or/and biggest investment of your life. People are anxious and not always sure what to expect around the next corner of the house buying journey.
Two very popular questions we receive are "what is in a Home Buyer Report?" and "What is part of the inspection?"
In simple terms a surveyor will inspect the inside and outside of the main building and all permanent outbuildings, but they do do not force or open up the fabric. A surveyor will also inspect the parts of the electricity, gas/oil, water, heating and drainage services that can be seen, but we do not test them.
To help describe the overall condition of the home, the surveyor will give condition ratings to the main parts (the ‘elements’) of the building, garage and some parts outside. Ratings, as outlined below, follow the traffic light system to make it easy to interpret and understand. The report covers matters that, in the surveyor’s opinion, need to be dealt with or may affect the value of the property.
3 Defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently
These are areas that you should either discuss with the seller to address before you purchase the property or at a minimum be aware that you will incur costs to address these defects in the immediate future after purchasing the property.
2 Defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be either serious or urgent
Often these defects are just generally wear and tear that happen over time. They do not need immediate attention but you should plan to address them or impact the value of the property but if you do not address them they could develop into a more serious defect.
1 No repair is currently needed
There is no cause for concern and these areas appear should not need any repair. Note that as a property owner it is important to carry out annual or seasonal inspections and carry out general maintenance as needed.
NI Not inspected
A surveyor for a Home Buyer Report only conducts a visual inspection. This means that the surveyor does not take up carpets, floor coverings or floorboards, move furniture or remove the contents of cupboards. Also, the surveyor does not remove secured panels or undo electrical fittings.
The surveyor will inspect roofs, chimneys and other surfaces on the outside of the building from ground level and, if necessary, from neighbouring public property and with the help of binoculars.
A surveyor will inspect the roof structure from inside the roof space if there is access (although we do not move or lift insulation material, stored goods or other contents). The surveyor examines floor surfaces and under-floor spaces so far as there is safe access to these (although we do not move or lift furniture, floor coverings or other contents). We are not able to assess the condition of the inside of any chimney, boiler or other flues.
A surveyor will note in their report if they were not able to check any parts of the property that the inspection would normally cover. If the surveyor is concerned about these parts, the report will tell you about any further investigations that are needed.
A surveyor will not report on the cost of any work to put right defects or make recommendations on how these repairs should be carried out. Some maintenance and repairs we suggest may be expensive.
At the end of the day you are paying for an experienced registered professional to give you their opinion on the integrity of the property you are hoping to purchase.
To be safe we simple recommend that you ensure the surveyor is registered with a relevant professional body such as the RICS and that they have 10+ years experience.