building survey

HomeBuyer Reports ~ Are They Worth it?

 If you’ve ever bought a house in the UK or are currently in the process of buying one, then it’s quite likely that you’ve heard of a Homebuyers report. Homebuyers reports are a kind of middle of the road building survey, a step up from a basic valuation for mortgage purposes but a step down (quite a big step) from a full structural survey. If you’ll be taking a mortgage out on the house that you’re buying, then mortgage lenders will require that as a bare minimum you have a basic valuation survey to prove that the house is worth what you say it’s worth and also that it’s not going to fall down anytime soon. Although a lender will usually only require a basic valuation, they will also offer you the option of a Homebuyers report or even a full structural survey. So is it worth paying the extra money for a Homebuyers report? Although for some they may serve a purpose, personally I’m not a great fan of Homebuyer reports for the following reasons.

What is Inspected

When carrying out a Homebuyers report surveyors only inspect things that are visible or accessible. This means that no furniture will be moved or lifted, no floorboards or carpets will be lifted etc. There will also be no inspection made regarding the condition of any gas, electrical, plumbing or drainage systems that may be in place at the property. So basically if you’re the sort of person that’s nervy about buying a house, all of the really important stuff that you’ll likely want to know is often omitted from the report.

What Homebuyer Reports do Contain

I also see an inherent problem in the kind of information a Homebuyers report does contain. If a surveyor can see some kind of visible problem within the property like a spot of damp for example, then he will likely mention this in his report. Due to the fact that he won’t be lifting any floorboards or digging any deeper however, unless the cause is clear the report won’t tell you where the damp is coming from. If you’re a nervy home buyer and you see even the slightest mention of damp on a Homebuyers report it will likely give you the jitters. It’s possible though that the damp mentioned on the report might well be caused by something as simple as a leaky gutter or even a dripping pipe, both relatively easy problems to fix and problems that won’t usually mean you’d consider pulling out of a house purchase.

There Will Always be Issues With a Property

Unless you’re buying a newly renovated property or a new build home, I’d feel pretty confident in saying that there will always be some kind of issue or problem with the house that you’re buying. Whether it’s the odd damp patch or a dodgy light switch, there’s usually something wrong somewhere. The question is how much do you really want to know what’s going on with the house?

If you don’t think that issues like these will be enough to potentially stop you from buying a house, then a Homebuyers report could be a waste of money. A standard valuation for mortgage purposes should pick up on any major issues or, if there are any doubts, a standard valuation will usually request that you obtain further reports to more fully investigate the issues. These reports can include things like a damp and timber report, electrical report, roof report etc. If however you’re serious about wanting to know the in’s and out’s of a property then personally I’d make the bigger investment and go for a full buildings survey, a more thorough survey which I’ll discuss in a later post.

Make Your Own Decision

With something as important as which type of building survey to go for, I feel I must mention that my opinion on Homebuyer reports is just that, my opinion. If you want to get a Homebuyers report because you feel it will make you more comfortable with your house purchase then go ahead. It’s important to be aware though that the report will usually throw up some kind of issue and it may not give you much information as to the cause of the problem. As we mentioned earlier some problems are easily remedied so if something does come up on a Homebuyers report, it might not be the end of the world and it doesn’t have to mean the end of your house purchase.

Which type of building survey would you go for?

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