July 27, 2023 1:16 pm

Buying a house in Somerset is such an exciting time. Looking at areas,
looking at different styles of property, different gardens, locations, schools,
transport links….and of course, no one loves looking at property more than us!
We adore it when our clients find the home of their dreams and move in ready
to start a new chapter.

But wait. Of course, there’s more to buying a house in Somerset than simply
falling in love with it. You must make sure it’s a sound property and isn’t going
to cause you headaches and turn your dream into a nightmare.

And that’s where surveys come in. A home survey will help you decide whether
it’s a green for go or a bright red STOP right now.

Here, we explain the surveys you’ll need to consider when buying a home in

But first, one of the questions we get asked most often is:

Do I really need a home survey?

The answer is probably, yes. Why? For two reasons really. Firstly, you may love
the house you’ve found, but think about this.

  • Is it structurally safe?
  • Is it going to need rewiring or things fixing?
  • Are lots of works required to bring it up to standard?

If it’s going to cost you a lot of money and lots of time to correct, is it really the
right house for you?

Conversely, if a survey suggests you need to make repairs worth thousands
and you still want the place, you could potentially ask the seller to reduce the
asking price.

In a Nutshell: A survey gives you security that the property is right for you.

Is a home survey a legal requirement?

No, it’s not a legal requirement to have a home survey done on a house that
you are buying. You may look at the costs of having a survey done and think
the cash is better off in your own pocket. But we would always respectfully suggest that you seriously think about commissioning a survey.

If it’s a new house, then the survey you need won’t be as expensive as a full
survey on an older property that may have issues. If you have a survey that
flags up issues, it could save you money in the long run.

In a Nutshell: Take a step back from the emotional thinking and think of your
money and your investment, because that’s what you’re spending your money

Is a home survey the same as a mortgage survey?

No! As a condition of getting a mortgage approval, you may well have to get a
survey done on the property you want. This is a survey the lender will do – via
an independent surveyor – to make sure that they can be confident the
property is worth what it is on the market for. A survey of this type isn’t
anywhere near as in depth as a proper, structural survey and sometimes is
done from a distance.

In a Nutshell: Your lender survey and home survey are two different elements
of the home buying process. If you need help clarifying what type of survey
you require, just ask us and we’ll explain. We like to talk in plain English and
love to help.

What’s in a survey?

The type and level of survey very much depends on what sort of property you
are looking to purchase.

Condition Report

If you are eyeing up a newbuild, which should come with a warranty and certain
guarantees, you should be looking at a low-level survey – a Condition Report.
These typically cost a few hundred pounds and take a couple of hours to be

Homebuyers Report

Then there’s a Homebuyers Report, which costs a little more and is also a little
more in depth, usually containing advice on what needs to be done. You can
see why these might be needed for an older property.

Full Building Survey

A full Building Survey – now this does cost more but is very thorough. It’s ideal
for an older property or one that is perhaps unusual. You need to make sure
that the house you are buying is structurally safe and this will tell you
everything – warts and all.

In a Nutshell: Your surveyor should be a “a member of a recognised governing
body such as the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) or Royal
Institution of Chartered Surveyors”. Choose your survey based on what you
need, not on the cost.

What Happens Next?

Your survey may well point out some defects and highlight what works needs
to be done. You need to properly assess whether this is something you either
want to do or can afford to do.

In a Nutshell: Weigh it all up, don’t scrimp on costs, and make sure you know
exactly what needs doing and whether you are prepared to take it on.

For more information on buying or renovating a property in Somerset, please do get in touch.

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