A comprehensive survey will ensure that you are fully aware of the condition of the property structure as this would not be revealed in any of the searches that we carry out on your behalf.
There are several different types of survey available. A full structural survey is particularly useful for old or large properties. The surveyor will report on everything that is visible. The outside of the roof will be examined and a sample floor board will be taken up, where practicable. The survey will cover the structure of the building, outbuildings, nearby trees that may cause damage, water services and drainage. The surveyor may suggest that you should have further tests, for example, if wet or dry rot is suspected.
Your lender (building society, bank or other institution) will arrange for a mortgage valuation of the property you are proposing to buy, (for which you have to pay a fee) to assist them in deciding whether or not they are able to lend you money against the security of the property. This valuation is solely for the benefit of your lender and we would recommend that you arrange for a more comprehensive survey.
We can put you in touch with an independent surveyor or you can ask your lender's surveyor to carry out a further survey on your behalf (there will be an additional fee for this). Structural surveys can be expensive, so do ask for an estimate and check whether the fee includes the cost of the mortgage valuation.
As there are different types of surveys, we recommend that you speak to your surveyor, explaining your requirements and they will be able to recommend the best type of report. Whichever type of survey you choose, it should be carried out by a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers, or the Architects and Surveyors Institute. If the survey report reveals anything unsatisfactory, it may be possible for you to negotiate with your seller to reduce the asking price.
Please note that nothing can be done about any defect which you discover after exchange of contracts. Generally, you need to bear in mind that the Contract will normally state that you are taken to know the state and condition of the property and it is therefore important that you carry out all necessary inspections and surveys prior to exchange of Contracts. The maxim is "caveat emptor", i.e. "buyer beware".