Pre-Purchase Survey FAQ

FAQ - Pre-Purchase Survey

What is a Pre-Purchase Survey?

A Pre-Purchase Survey is a detailed internal and external inspection of a property, residential or commercial, to assess its condition and to determine whether there are any defects present which could potentially have a substantial cost implication to repair.

It is frequently referred to as a ‘structural survey’ or ‘building inspection’ and is carried out on behalf of the potential purchaser of a property. The building elements typically considered during a Pre-Purchase Survey are listed under ‘Residential Services’.

Pre-Purchase Surveys are usually carried out prior to the signing of final contract documentation and are very frequently required by solicitors and lending institutions as they will highlight any planning or building regulation compliance issues and detail the extent of any remedial works required to refurbish a property or carry out any structural repairs.

How long does a Pre-Purchase Survey take to complete?

This depends on the type of property, in particular its age and state of repair. A typical survey of a recently constructed three bedroom semi-detached property takes 1 – 1½ hours to survey. Older properties can take a considerably longer period of time to survey.

What is the difference between a Pre-Purchase Survey and a Snag List?

A snag list is carried out for a new property that has not been previously occupied. The snagging process involves identifying incomplete or defective works i.e. damaged joinery and trim or substandard finishes and including them on a list to be passed on to the builder/developer for attention.

How soon can a Pre-Purchase survey be undertaken once a booking is made?

Normally, we require 3-5 days notice but will do our best to accommodate clients who may require a Pre-Purchase Survey more urgently. Please contact us to discuss your individual requirements.

How long does it take to complete the Pre-Purchase Survey Report?

Reports are normally completed within five to seven working days, but can be completed in a shorter timeframe if required.

I’m concerned about the potential costs of any repair work to the property I am purchasing – do you provide approximate costings as part of the survey?

Yes, if requested we will provide approximate costs which may be used as the basis for negotiation of the final contract price with the property Vendor.

Can we attend the survey?

Yes, however the permission of the estate agent should be sought in all instances.

We are considering extending the property when we purchase it. Can you provide advice on the feasibility of extending the property?

Yes. We can advise you on any planning or practical construction related issues that may arise should you wish to extend.

Buying a house is probably going to be the largest long term financial commitment that most people will ever make, and if they want to be fully aware of the condition of their potential property then a Pre-Purchase Survey or building survey is very necessary.

The survey that a mortgage provider completes is only to assess whether the property is good security for the loan. It will not obtain all the information you will need in order to know if the property is sound or not.

A building survey carried out by a Chartered Building Surveyor will provide you with the information and advice you need to make an informed decision on whether to proceed with the purchase or to look elsewhere. A full building survey (known to many as a ‘Structural Survey’) will advise on the on the condition of each section of the property. It will list it’s condition and any defects encountered, and give informed advice on the scope of any necessary works. The time to undertake a building survey is in the period between having an offer accepted and before exchanging contracts.

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