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Each week one of Morecrofts Solicitors’ property experts will discuss issues facing home owners, landlords and property developers. This week, Peter Pownall, discusses, discusses why surveys are so important to potential buyers. Peter joined Morecrofts in April 2011 as a Licensed Conveyancer to strengthen the busy Property department. With over 40 years experience in both Commercial and Residential conveyancing Peter is a great addition to the already excellent conveyancing team. We hope you enjoy reading our regular column and if you wish to contact Peter for further information then please call 0151 236 8871 or email him directly on email@example.com.
Which Type of Search? When buying a property you may wonder why there are different types of survey and you may think they are all the same except one is less expensive than the others. Hopefully when applying for a mortgage you will be offered the choice of surveys. If not ask about them.
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The first level is a valuation and mainly used by your lender to establish that the property is good enough to secure the money you intend to borrow from them. The valuation will not give you very much information about the property and it consists usually of two or three pages of tick boxes but will give some details of any suspected structural problems and any major repair works needed. Although this report is commissioned mainly for the purposes of your lender the valuer does have a limited duty of care to you and therefore should the valuer miss something major you may be able to claim for any reduction in the value of the property. The type of survey which will provide you with more detailed information is a Home Buyer’s Report. This contains far more information than the valuation and will consist of a report of approximate 12-15 pages. The survey is carried out primarily for you and therefore the surveyor has a higher duty of care to you. As part of the report the surveyor will advise you if the purchase price is too high and if this is the case you may be able to use the report to negotiate a reduction in the price. Should the surveyor consider the property has a structural or other problem he may suggest you have the defect investigated further. This is not trying to pass the buck but the surveyor may not be structural engineer or damp or timber specialist or expert in the particular type of defect identified. The third and most expensive form of inspection is a full structural survey. This will normally be carried out by a structural engineer who will have the expertise to identify problems with the structure of a property. The report is usually very detailed. Should the survey identify any defects the report should set out the best way of rectifying the problem and an indication of the likely cost. As with the Home Buyer’s Report the surveyor will advise you whether the proposed purchase price is too high and if this is the case you can use the survey to negotiate and reduction in the price. The older the property the more you should consider the Home Buyer’s Report or full structural survey. However this does not mean that newer houses are immune from structural problems and therefore you should have the best survey you are able to afford.
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Even before you buy a property you must consider whether you are likely to have difficulty selling it in the future and this includes taking into account the surrounding area. The survey may identify and advise you of this. Make sure the valuation or survey you choose will be carried out by a valuer or surveyor with local knowledge of the area. This can be invaluable. If there is anything you are not sure of on a report don’t be afraid to ask. You may have difficulty speaking to the valuer or surveyor where only a lender’s valuation has been obtained but a surveyor who has carried out a Home Buyer’s Report or full structural survey for you will be able to answer any questions you have. If the surveyor has made a mistake on the survey or the advice he gives you the basis of any compensation you may be able to claim is usually not what it would costs to rectify the problem but the difference in the value of property with and without the defect.
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Should you require any further information please contact Peter Pownall at our property department.
Call Peter Pownall on:
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