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questions about inspections/surveys

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  • questions about inspections/surveys

    It's the confused Yank here...

    My UK friends are telling me all sorts of horror stories about buying properties in the UK. What I'm wondering about at the moment is how inspections, or as they tell me they're called there, surveys, are done in England.

    Here in the States, the sellers have an inspection performed in order to valuate the house and to identify any problems that will need to be fixed before the house can be sold, etc. The buyers then have their own inspection done as an independent thing, in order to satisfy their mortgage company and to have someone who works for them do a full inspection, so they know what costs they might be running into.

    Often, sellers will have a super-inspection done, and then can purchase a warranty (for a certain amount of time) on the house in order to make it more attractive to a buyer.

    How does it work in the UK? How are surveys/inspections paid for and performed, and what assurances do they give the mortgage companies and/or buyers? One of my friends in London says that this situation has been changing in the UK right now...has it settled out, or does it look like it's going to?

    Wow, I'm glad I'm starting this all up now...!

  • #2
    Lol! Welcome to Property Watch, mynameisCat.

    From what I hear, the US has got a few more things right than the UK property market.

    In the UK, they've tried to bring in the independent reports for the sellers to prepare - SIPPs - but it's all been a complete cock-up and is going to be gradually introduced on a voluntary basis, rather than anything else.

    Meanwhile, the status quo continues - the seller has a report done to evaluate the property (no inspection for problems).

    Then the buyer comes in, get's someone in to evaluate the property for the mortgage company (and also spot *major* problems).

    The potential buyer can then either have an additional - and proper - inspection (survey) done, to look for issues that may need addressing - or simply hope for the best.

    Hope that helps.

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    • #3
      One of my friends in London bought a home, and the surveyor apparently missed that there was a ton of dry rot. And he (the surveyor) got away with it, too, on a technicality. It was awful, and it cost them a great deal of money they didn't really have.

      So it's really buyer beware then... Are homes in England that sturdy that it's not a huge issue?

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      • #4
        There are problems everywhere! Dry rot seems to be one of the most prevalent especially in older homes where you might not even know it until you start some reconstruction. Too bad that surveyor got away with it tho.

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        • #5
          Yes, they were just putting in a new electrical outlet themselves, and suddenly it went from a few pounds for the outlet and wiring to this huge amount of time and money for dry rot that seemed to go for miles! They were NOT happy.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mynameisCat View Post
            Yes, they were just putting in a new electrical outlet themselves, and suddenly it went from a few pounds for the outlet and wiring to this huge amount of time and money for dry rot that seemed to go for miles! They were NOT happy.
            arrgh, that's terrible..that's probably one of the worst home-buying experiences i've heard.

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            • #7
              I am not aware of any UK owner commissioning a report on the property they are to sell. Most estate agents are often not qualified surveyors and will not identify defects in order to make recommendations to their client.

              It is left to the buyer to instruct their own survey on the property - they currently come in two forms - a Homebuyer Survey and Valuation (HSV) and a Building Survey.

              The HSV is suitable for most homes but is carries restrictions to the inspection ie. will not lift carpets, poke holes etc.

              The Building Survey is generally considered for older buildings, listed buildings or unusual construction and is more comprehensive and expensive.

              The proposed HIP's pack to come in JUne 2007 will completely change the process in so far as the vendor will have to prepare all title and local searches together with an Energy Report. The buyer will still need to carry out their own survey though. And we mustn't forget that banks and building society's will also require their own mortgage valuation to make sure the property is secure for lending purposes.

              You should visit the RICS website for details on surveys and surveyors in your area.

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