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To think I need a Homebuyers Report...

(37 Posts)
OhLookMarch Sun 17-Mar-19 22:13:30

Sorry this probably isn't the right place to ask. I'm in the process of purchasing my first home at the grand old age of 34. Excited but absolutely terrified.

It's a mid terrace (all I can afford for a start home unfortunately) and was built in 1995. My mortgage broker advised me that the lender is currently offering a free "valuation survey" which is usually a cost of £350. I told him great but after it's done I'll get an independent one done too, I want things like wiring and damp and subsidence etc checked and don't believe a VS does all that. He was surprised and said VS will do all that and whilst I should get one done if it reassures me I'll just be wasting a few hundred quid. The mortgage broker is very helpful, capable and competent - he's been a life safer to many people I know but I was surprised at this as nearly everyone else has told me to get an independent RICS homebuyers report.

Thoughts for a clueless first time buyer please?!

nespressowoo Sun 17-Mar-19 22:18:19

Get one. It's not a waste of money. We picked things up that knocked £5k off of the price.

CheekyChappy710 Sun 17-Mar-19 22:18:45

A valuation survey and homebuyers report are the same thing but lots of different names. Both have no legal leg to stand on and won't go into loads of detail in regards to wiring etc but will pick up more major issues such as obvious damp. If you are really concerned and want certainty you need a full structural survey - more expensive but more thorough, depends how worried you are. Funnily enough the surveyor instructed by the free option might be the same one you instruct anyway as there's usually not loads in a small local area. Go for the free one,if it picks anything up then pay for a full structural.

OhLookMarch Sun 17-Mar-19 22:22:03

I was intending to get the level 2 one, so between the full shebang and the shit one. The reason being I've researched it a bit and got the impression the full structural survey is for older or detached properties...

CheekyChappy710 Sun 17-Mar-19 22:25:19

Honestly I'd just go for the free one. But up to you,you obviously are worried enough to do research and if you think the one you pay for will be better than the other one then crack on I guess. If you're willing to stump up the cash to put your mind at ease then no one else can really argue that logic with you.

OhLookMarch Sun 17-Mar-19 22:32:06

Lol the thing is I'm a massive worrier so nothing will put my mind at ease anyway!

lavenderbluedilly Sun 17-Mar-19 22:38:13

I got a homebuyers survey on my current house before buying, and it didn’t pick up the two massive problems we had within the first year. One was a huge hole in a flat roof! The other was an overflowing septic tank (he didn’t check the inspection hatch).

I have also been present when a survey was carried out on a property that I lived in. The surveyor spent about 10 minutes looking around and no doubt charged the buyers £££

CheekyChappy710 Sun 17-Mar-19 23:45:03

If you're that much of a worrier just put that £350 towards a full structural survey

TitusP Sun 17-Mar-19 23:55:12

Our bank told us a mortgage valuation would not be carried out by a RICS registered surveyor. I'm not sure if that is the case everywhere, but just to warn you. The mortgage valuation also missed a pretty obvious structural issue in the loft because as the estate agent let me know, they never bothered going up there.

OhLookMarch Mon 18-Mar-19 07:30:38

Thanks x

OhLookMarch Mon 18-Mar-19 07:39:17

The main things I'm worried about are the central heating system and the wiring / electrical system. Do RICS reports even check these?

Geneticsbunny Mon 18-Mar-19 07:42:23

They won't check the electrics or the heating except visually. I.e. if they look old they will write something about themnrrding updating. You need an electrician and a separate boiler guy if you want them checked properly.

Geneticsbunny Mon 18-Mar-19 07:44:13

In terms of heating the main thing which goeswtong is the boiler so if that is working you will probably be fine and electrics, the only thing which will probably be raised is that the switchboard needs ungrafing unless this is a project house. I assume someone is living there now?

OhLookMarch Mon 18-Mar-19 07:53:51

They've already moved out x

bilbodog Mon 18-Mar-19 08:11:40

A valuation survey shouldnt cost you anything - the mortgage lender will do that as a matter of course. I think they are offering you a home buyers survey at that price. If its free i would take it but understand as others have said that they dont check everything in detail.

ThePants999 Mon 18-Mar-19 08:15:25

A valuation survey will NOT do the things you list. It often doesn't even involve going inside the property! And a mortgage broker should know better, I'm very unimpressed.

Thereshegoesagain Mon 18-Mar-19 08:21:35


VeryLittleOwl Mon 18-Mar-19 09:41:44

No, they won't check the heating or wiring, they'll just cast an eye over what's been installed. If it was only built in 1995 I'll be surprised if it comes back with anything more than the advice to get electrics checked every 10 years by a qualified electrician.

dietcokemegafan Mon 18-Mar-19 09:46:46

If we hadn't got a structural survey, we wouldn't have known that our house had been underpinned (vendors 'forgot' to mention it) and our insurance would have been invalid when it next subsides. I am stunned how many people buy a house without a full structural survey.

OhLookMarch Mon 18-Mar-19 11:33:58

@dietokemegafan how old is your house? Surely the Solicitor should have discovered that during the searches?

quiettiger Mon 18-Mar-19 11:40:57

Get a full structural survey done. A friend of mine didn't when she bought her 1900's terraced Valleys house and so didn't pick up subsidence and all the other issues it had.

She had a valuation survey for her mortgage by the bank and was trying to save few quid. What actually happened was instead of saving £350, she ended up spending £45000+ to get the house to a liveable standard.

Now, admittedly that's an extreme example, but it is a true one.

MereDintofPandiculation Mon 18-Mar-19 12:22:22

If you're really worried about the electrics, you'll need a survey by an electrician. Even a full structural survey won't get further than advice to get an electrical survey done - different expertise required.

Or take the view that you'll get the electrics replaced and factor that into your calculations as to whether you can afford the house.

OhLookMarch Mon 18-Mar-19 12:36:29

I'll have a good few grand in savings when I move in and I've managed to get a good price on the house so that's all fine. It's only a small tidy looking 2 bed. I'm just having horror images of moving into a house that looks fine then ending up with an unexpected £50,000 bill for something and having a complete breakdown. I've never done this before and it's just pretty scary.

Puzzledandpissedoff Mon 18-Mar-19 12:36:44

The main things I'm worried about are the central heating system and the wiring / electrical system. Do RICS reports even check these?

No, they don't - and while you might as well have the "Homebuyer's Report" if it's free, it's been my experience that all the caveats make them not worth the paper they're written on

Much better to pay a recommended electrician or plumber for an hour of their time to give you some proper advice on how reliable the systems are. Ditto a builder if you just want some assurance about the roof or floor, though if there's an actual reason to suspect real subsidence - unlikely in a 1995 house - that's where you'd need a structural engineer

dietcokemegafan Mon 18-Mar-19 20:11:45

@OhLookMarch 1920s. Didn't come up on searches, why would it? Only the vendors have that info.

Puzzledandpissedoff Mon 18-Mar-19 20:23:23

dietcokemegafan I imagine that would depend on the reason for the subsidence ... if it was something like mining or underground water I'd expect the local authority to know about it and for it to show up on a search?

OhLookMarch Mon 18-Mar-19 20:34:47

Fuck it. I'm getting a full one done. It's just not worth the risk.

longearedbat Mon 18-Mar-19 20:43:39

Yes, always get a full survey, don't be like a relative of mine who had to spend 25k on underpinning simply because she didn't have a proper survey.

Iveprobablybeenunreasonable Mon 18-Mar-19 20:52:55

Sorry to jump on this thread, but those saying they know people who spent £25k / £50k etc on underpinning -how come they weren't covered on their buildings insurance?
I only ask as we have loads of cracks appearing in our 90 year old house and the thought of paying it out of our own bank hadn't even crossed my mind should we have structural issues!

CheekyChappy710 Mon 18-Mar-19 21:24:11

Because home insurance doesn't cover wear and tear or maintenance which some insurers would claim your issue might be so wont pay out @iveprobablybeenumreasonable

missymayhemsmum Mon 18-Mar-19 21:31:55

To be fair, there probably isn't much wrong with a 1995 house that will come up on a homebuyer. I'd get a knowledgeable builder friend to look over the property first and see if they can find any issues. Then if you want a homebuyer pay a local surveyor (not the big firm appointed by the mortgage co) to do it and check out any issues that your friend has picked up. Then actually read the survey and phone the surveyor and go through the survey point by point until you are sure you understand what they are saying. Also get an electrical test and inspection, and ask to see a boiler certificate issued in the last month/ get a test done. Find out who the building company were and whether there were any known issues with the estate. Get the original plans from building control. Compare your house with next door to see if there are any alterations and that they had building control certificates.

dietcokemegafan Mon 18-Mar-19 21:34:33

Sorry to jump on this thread, but those saying they know people who spent £25k / £50k etc on underpinning -how come they weren't covered on their buildings insurance?

If your house has been underpinned before and you didn't declare this (e.g. if you didn't know) then your insurance will be invalid. Or if you haven't declared something else (by intent or by mistake) they'll declare it invalide.

WYP2018 Mon 18-Mar-19 21:42:55

It’s totally up to you, if it’s going to stress you get the expensive survey. Personally I probably wouldn’t for a house that age, but I have when I bought my first house (1900’s terraced house in a mining area).

mirime Mon 18-Mar-19 21:46:06

We had a level 2 survey done, and then spoke to the surveyor. He was brilliant, came out and said if I was his daughter he'd advise me not to buy the house and gave a lot of advice on what to avoid when looking at houses.

We didn't buy that house. Found another one and asked for the same surveyor. Much better survey, main issue was the guttering needed replacing.

Would definitely recommend having a survey and chatting to the surveyor afterwards. These days I'd probably go for the full structural survey though, yes we were ok, but I'm older and wiser now. We didn't worry about the electrics because my df could sort anything out, but again worth having it checked as my df was kept busy for a while!

OhLookMarch Wed 20-Mar-19 19:02:16

The RICS company I phoned today (has great reviews) told me I should have a level 2 survey as it's pretty detailed but that I won't need a full structural one (which to be fair they could have lied about to get more money) as the property is only 30 years old. They have quoted me £350 including VAT.

quiettiger Thu 21-Mar-19 16:03:26

Sorry to jump on this thread, but those saying they know people who spent £25k / £50k etc on underpinning -how come they weren't covered on their buildings insurance?

In my friends case, her insurance company argued that because she hadn't had a structural survey done at purchase, her insurance was invalid and they refused to pay. She tried to argue it legally, but they basically told her to fuck off.

Hecateh Sat 23-Mar-19 21:58:05

Pay a gas safe plumber to check the gas if it has gsa central heating and get a gas safe certificate and a qualified electrician to do an EICR. (Electrical Inspection Condition Report). Bear in mind though that, to an extent, houses are sold as seen.
If there is anything really dangerous you should be able to get the vendor to pay for it but if it is stuff that is in line with the age of the property you may be able to do some negotiation but don't count on getting the full cost knocked off.
For example, I am selling, the gas safe was totally fine (thank goodness) but the electrics brought up a number of things. Some of them were patently unsafe (not to me as I was aware, drew his attention and hadn't been using but could be to new people - broken switch unit and broken outside light) I got these fixed by him before the report. Others were just because I had a rewire done when I bought the house 20 years ago and regulations have changed. They could do with updating but are not inherently unsafe. I am not paying for these.

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