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Surveys - Who's paid for the most detailed one? Was it worth it?

16 replies

HarrietTheSpy · 22/02/2008 18:43

We've got three options:

Stick with lender's valuation
Middle of the road home buyers
detailed structural

I've heard that the middle of the road home buyers is fit for purpose, that the detailed structural just throws up a lot of stuff you don't really know. but these people have done a loft and a kitchen extension. is it worth it??

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YouKnowNothingOfTheCrunch · 22/02/2008 18:46

We had one done. It was on an older property and gave some very useful advice on what would need doing in the years to come. It really depends on what sort of state the house is in I suppose. When we bought a newer house we just had the standard survey and that suited us fine.
Don't just go for the lender's valuation though. It is not intended as a survey for you as a buyer.

edam · 22/02/2008 18:48

I've always gone with home buyers, but have never bought anything in need of major work. Lender's is useless, it protects them not you.

Check with your LA that they had building regs approval for the extensions - and planning permission if they needed it (not all extensions/conversions do but LA should help you work this one out). Did the estate agent describe the loft as a 'loft room' or count it as a bedroom? Most agents call them loft rooms if they don't meet building regs.

coastalmum · 22/02/2008 18:49

We had a detailed structural, it more than made its money back by enabling us to knock the price down due to the work that needed doing.

And as YKNOTC said it gave us a list of things that needed attention in the future.

ProfessorGrammaticus · 22/02/2008 18:51

What YouKnow said

lalalonglegs · 22/02/2008 18:55

Most surveys do come with a list of caveats (can't be held responsible for xyz) so I think the most important thing is to get a surveyor whom you trust rather than just go with the bank's person - who will likely be working to a set format and be more worried about being sued than about providing you with useful information.

Which survey you go for really depends on what suspicions you have about the property - if it is very old and not in optimum condition then I would say get the biggie. But if you're more worried about the extensions, then you can check with local authority that they were built to the bldg regulations in place at the time which may give you peace of mind. If you have specific concerns about them, then go for full structural and tell surveyor what you are worried about so s/he can spend time investigating.

HarrietTheSpy · 22/02/2008 21:37

Oh, I should have said, we had no intention of going with the first option only (although the person buying ours appears to be). It's an Edwardian house. We don't have any specific concerns, the house actually looks in good shape, it's just a question of 'what if?' because of hte extensions. Also, the garden - lalalonglegs you may remember my posts to you - is pretty vertical. But I'm not sure if the more detailed survey would even cover the relationhip between the steep garden and the house, if you see what I mean.

The thing is, we're already getting a healthy discount to hte asking price, so in that regard, we're unlikely to get much mileage out of using findings from the most detailed survey as a bargaining tool. Anything really serious, we'd just pull out. I guess home buyers would pick up subsidence, for example?! From memory of buying our first house - albeit ages ago - I THINK it does.

It's a proper loft extension, we know the builders who did it as they quoted on our current property, and I'm sure the regs are in place. But you're right - definitely worth asking.

Is this something our solicitor can do for us?

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Elephantsbreath · 22/02/2008 22:51

We had a structural report carried out but it came back with so many caveats it was hardly worth it. In the future I will probably get a home buyers' (the middle one) and take along my trusted builder to get the whole picture of what needs doing and the costs involved in putting things right.

lalalonglegs · 23/02/2008 09:37

Your solicitor can do it but it will be miles quicker and cheaper if you just go to the local planning office yourself and ask to see a copy of the building regs/planning permission cert - quite a lot of local authorities even have these online.

Yes, I do remember your garden - so sorry I couldn't get you that photo - not sure if the survey would cast much light upon that. They would be interested in big trees growing nearby but, if the house is Edwardian and still standing reasonably vertically, not sure the slope would be investigated very thoroughly unless there was sign of slippage in yours or neighbours' gardens.

The thing with homebuyers' report is that it would say something along lines of "there may be evidence of subsidence - we suggest a structural survey to investigate this possibility" which is a bit ho hum. Also says things like: "the wiring may not have been renewed recently, we suggest a thorough inspection by a NICEIC accredited electrician".

Like I said, I think it is worth getting an independent surveyor along if you are nervous but it is hard to judge how nervous you are...

noddyholder · 23/02/2008 12:07

I have always just had the basic valuation because it also will alert you to further investigations and then I took a really good builder round and gave him£50 for his time,well worth it.The homebuyers is useless ime they cover their asses by saying they couldn't be sure or couldn't see and suggest yuo get further investigations!!

HarrietTheSpy · 24/02/2008 12:50

Thanks for your mess.

Lalalonglegs - will call the council myself, I shouldn't be lazy here!

It's my husband who is feeling cautious. This is not like, for example, a place we looked at in Wales with several visible problems and God knows what else not apparent from the naked eye.

Noddy you may be right re getting a builder round if the survey picks up anything odd.

I am now remembering that we sent round a builder, who had done some work for a friend,to our current house before buying it. Told the owner: "Boy they are really getting a bargain here."

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BreeVanDerCampLGJ · 24/02/2008 13:01

We got the full one, and it didn't throw up much, it did however highlight the fact that the boiler was kaput. So we asked for a reduction, they refused we threatened to pull out. They capitulated and we moved in to find a note saying Welcome to your new home, by the way your surveyor was right the boiler rolled over and died when we turned it on for the Winter.

Money well spent in my opinion.

missingtheaction · 24/02/2008 13:37

if it's edwardian and on a steep slope you need to be reassured that it is not actually planning to move down the slope (subside)at any point in the future, as this would mean underpinning and huge £ and building time. Also you need someone to check the inside of the roof. Electrics and plumbing could be a problem too.

Personally I would go for the full thing BUT if you do make sure the surveyor has access to the roof space, and ideally send him a list of your concerns. You don't have to go for your mortgage lender's surveyor - but if you go for someone else then your mortgage lender will probably make you pay for their minimum survey anyway in addition. benefits of going with an independent surveyor are that they know you are the boss - not the mortgage company.

HarrietTheSpy · 25/02/2008 00:55

So, you're saying you did get some cash off in the end if I read your mess right.

The house is at the base of the slope...hmmm...maybe I'm changing my mind about the full one...

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BreeVanDerCampLGJ · 25/02/2008 19:50

We got £3k off.

nervousal · 27/02/2008 13:28

we just had a valuation one done - but only because the house is still under NHBC, which should cover any major work which would have been picked up under another survey.

Thefearlessfreak · 27/02/2008 13:30

I got a longer more expensive one done. I'd not bother with it again tho.

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