Valuation and survey fees
Your lender will probably insist that you pay for a valuation to check that the property is suitable for a mortgage and that the price is reasonable. A valuation is not a detailed inspection. It may not detect structural problems.
You may also want to get a homebuyer's report or a survey to check the condition of the property. Surveys can be expensive but may save you money.
How much will I have to pay?
The amount you will have to pay depends on the size, age and price of the property, and how detailed an inspection you want to have carried out. A structural survey is the most expensive but is also the most detailed inspection.
A homebuyers report can cost between £350 and £500. A full structural survey could cost over £1,000. It may be possible to combine the lender's valuation with a survey or homebuyer's report. This usually works out cheaper.
Your lender will send a qualified valuer to assess the value of the property. You won't get a formal mortgage offer until after the valuation. Valuations assess the value of a property, not the condition it is in.
Your lender needs to know that the property is worth at least as much as you are borrowing. This is because if you don't pay your mortgage it may have to repossess your home and sell it to get back the money you have borrowed.
You will have to pay for the valuation. Even if the sale falls through you won't get your money back. If the valuer decides that the property isn't worth the price you have offered you may decide to:
- get the seller to fix any problems before you buy
- negotiate a lower price
- withdraw your offer
Serious problems identified by the valuer may make it more difficult to get a mortgage.
Getting a survey or homebuyer's report
Many buyers have a survey or homebuyer's report carried out before buying a home. You don't have to have one done, but it gives more information about the condition of the property and any structural problems.
Most surveys and homebuyer's reports will indicate that some repairs are needed. Some repairs are relatively simple and inexpensive, so this doesn't mean that the property isn't worth buying. If expensive repairs are needed, you may be able to:
- get the seller to get the work done, or
- pay less and use the money you save to get the work done after you buy.
Homebuyer's report or a survey?
There are two types of inspection, which provide different levels of detail about the property: homebuyer's reports and surveys.
Homebuyer's reports are less detailed than a full survey. They detect visible structural problems and give an indication of the general condition of the property. They are usually cheaper than a full survey (around £350 to £500) but won't provide as much detail about the property. If you have any doubts about your property you may want to pay extra for a full survey.
Structural surveys are the most detailed type of inspection. They are more likely to spot hidden problems such as subsidence or dry rot. Surveys can be expensive (from £600 to £1000) but identifying major problems could save you money in the long run. If your survey uncovers major problems you can:
- hire a specialist to look at the problem areas
- negotiate a lower price
- get the seller to fix the problems before you buy
- withdraw your offer and not buy the property
However, structural surveys may not cover plumbing, heating or electrical wiring in much detail. Your surveyor may recommend that a specialist looks at these areas.
Making a complaint
You may be able to make a complaint if you aren't happy with the service you received from your surveyor. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has a complaints procedure and a scheme for solving disagreements. You can use this scheme if your surveyor is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
It is usually cheaper than going to court and is legally binding.
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