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Why Property Surveys Are So Important

Here at McCallums, we know that moving house can be a costly experience. And the idea of forking out for yet another expense when the subject of a property survey comes up may seem like a difficult pill to swallow. Having your offer accepted on a house is a great feeling. However, then comes the sometimes daunting task of having the house surveyed. With some surveys being more in-depth than others you may well find it appealing to pick the cheapest survey available. But, that isn’t necessarily what is right for you or the property. In this article we discuss everything there is to know about a property survey. As well as explaining why property surveys are so important.

However, not having your property surveyed by an experienced surveyor may actually lead you to have to pay out thousands of pounds in repairs unexpectedly. The survey will highlight previously hidden defects and damages to the building.

McCallums was first established in 2001, since then we’ve been providing our customers with strategic and diverse advice in regards to their properties. In that time, we completed thousands of property surveys for our happy customers in the East Anglia area.

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What is a Property Survey?

A property survey is a process carried out by a professional surveyor. It is a detailed inspection of the condition of a property. Typically they will examine the structure and condition of the house you’re buying or selling. The surveyor then inspects the property. They will also make you aware of any problems with the house.

A property survey will offer you valuable advice on a number of other factors that you may not have previously considered. Giving you firmer peace of mind that the property is ready for all life can throw at it. The survey can highlight repairs and alterations that may be needed. A surveyor can also help define the boundaries of your property. Which can help solve potential disputes with neighbours in the near future. The property survey can be carried out at any time, but is more likely you’ll use them when buying a new house or planning to do some construction.


The Types of Surveys

Here at McCallums, we know that buying a house can be extremely stressful and expensive. So, when the idea of having a property survey comes up it might seem like a good idea to go with the cheapest option. Unfortunately, the ‘cheapest’ may not always be the right choice for you or your property. Below we’ll take a look at the different types of surveys, what they cover and how they may benefit you. 

There are three main types of surveys that can take place. The HomeBuyer Reports, Building Surveys, and Condition Reports. We will now take you through each option. As well as highlight some of the factors each type takes into consideration. 


HomeBuyers Report

A HomeBuyers report is the more popular choice with people across the UK, it provides a detailed survey of the building. There are two tiers of Homebuyers report. The first tier is a non-intrusive look at the building, this means they won’t lift furniture, look under floorboards, or drill any holes. The report will note any obvious signs of rot, subsidence, etc.

The second tier of HomeBuyers report is everything we’ve just been over plus an evaluation and insurance reinstatement of the property (This is basically how much you’d receive if the building was to be destroyed) 

A HomeBuyers report operates on a traffic light system and can take up to 2 hours to complete. 


Building Survey

A building survey is the most extensive and detailed report a surveyor will carry out. The surveyor will go behind walls, under floorboards, into the loft and he’ll also check between floors.  

This is an excellent choice for older homes, in homes where work is either intended to be done or has just been completed. Begging the most extensive type of survey a surveyor will generally spend around 2-5 hours inspecting the building. 

At McCallums we’ve been helping homeowners, investors, and professionals with property surveys for over 30 years. If you require more information or would like to schedule your own property survey then feel free to contact us.

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What are the Benefits of a Property Survey?

There are many benefits to a property survey. A property survey can highlight previously hidden defects and damages with the building that could save you some much-needed cash in the long run. Below are the main benefits of getting a property survey on a property you are about to purchase, or if you’re selling your home.

Importance of a Property Survey

Moving house can be a costly experience and the idea of forking out for yet another expense when the subject of a property survey comes up may seem like a difficult pill to swallow. 

However, not having your property surveyed by an experienced surveyor may actually lead you to have to shell out thousands of pounds to repair a problem you didn’t even know existed. Below we will outline the importance of a property survey and highlight the reasons you should get a property survey today if you’re planning on moving home. 

A property survey will explore the house to discover any potential defects, floors, or potential risks to the structural integrity of the building. It can also be used to negotiate the price of the property. 

This is achieved by bartering the amount of potential money it would cost in repairs to the building against the asking price of the house. In many cases, where a property survey hasn’t been correctly carried out, subsequent work on repairs will cost upwards of £5,000. 

The person who is attempting to purchase the property is responsible for organising the survey if they wish to have one carried out. 

So, now we have a basic understanding of the importance of having a property survey completed by a professional. How knowing about any potential defects or condition issues before you decide to take the plunge on the biggest purchase of your life, could save you money, help you negotiate a better deal, or even sway you away from a bad decision

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Reasons to get a Property Survey

Now we’ve explained why property surveys are so important, we’re going to go over reasons why you should get a survey if you’re buying a property. Simply put, we highly recommended getting a property survey as it can help identify underlying issues of the property that you won’t of picked up on with a quick look around. An in-depth survey will save you money in the long run.

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How Long Does a Survey Take?

There are two main types of property you can have done. Each type or tier of the survey has a differing level of complexity when it comes to the inspection of a property’s condition. 

Below we’ll take through each type of survey, give you a brief description of what you can expect from each and how long each will take.


HomeBuyers Report

The Homebuyers Report will provide more details about any potential faults or hazards your home may have. A Homebuyers Report can also highlight how much time and money condition issues in the home may take to be repaired. Although this is a more detailed inspection than the condition report the surveyor will not move any furniture, drill holes or look between walls or floors. 

A Homebuyers Report can also have a valuation of the property added to it, this can be used to determine the value of the property in the event that the worst happens to your home. 


Building Survey

A Building Survey is the most detailed and extensive inspection a surveyor can make, they’ll look between the floors where already accessible, in the loft, and check for signs of Japanese Knotweed and Asbestos. In the end, a full report will be given, however, unless specified a full building survey will not include a market valuation as standard, but can be offered as an optional extra. 

For more details about property surveys, click here

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How Long Does it Take for the Report to Come Back?

Once you’ve had your survey done it will take some time for the report to be written up, although, nothing in life is certain these are the average time it can take to receive the results from your survey. At McCallums Property Surveying, our surveyors aim to have the report sent to you within two working days post inspection.

Again just like the actual type of survey you choose will impact how long your survey report takes to be written up. On average a building survey can run to around 15,000 words which will include diagrams, understand these can’t be made overnight, and more in-depth reports may exceed our timeframe of two working days from time to time.


What is the Cost of a Property Survey?

When looking at the details of a property survey obviously cost is one of the biggest factors you may well consider before requesting to have a survey done on a property. However, the cheapest option isn’t always the best one for you or your property. Although a level two homebuyers report is the cheapest option it won’t tell you if you have serious defects or structural problems with the building that a more detailed report could.

The more in-depth the report, the more likely things that are wrong with the property are going to be picked up. This will in turn in the long run save you money on repairs that are needed for the property if you know about them. You can fix any damages or repairs before they become a larger issue and end up costing you lots more

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Do I Need a Survey?

Whilst there isn’t any legal obligation to have a survey done, they can help highlight any potentially costly problems that you will not have seen. Most people when buying a new home will not visit the property or spend over an hour in the building before they decide the property is their ‘dream home’ in contrast a survey can take multiple hours and a surveyor can check for signs of potential issues, you may not know they exist. And although pricey, a survey can help save you thousands of pounds in wasted money on repairs. 

We recommend that you get a survey if you are purchasing a property. As explained above the survey can help identify any issues with the property you are about to purchase. This is beneficial if you are wanting to move into the property as soon as you purchase it, so you can start living there right away

Where Can You Get a Survey From?

You will want to carry out research into property surveyors in your local area or the area the property is located in. We recommend contacting three different companies and obtaining a quotation from them for the property survey you require. Remember to do your research into each company and check their previous reviews from customers. You want to choose a company that is reliable and also has experience in carrying out surveys in different types of properties.

Different surveyors will charge different fees for a survey. This makes it easy to simply choose the cheapest company to complete the survey. However, as we mentioned above you should carry out your research as cheap doesn’t always mean good.

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How to Read a Property Survey

Although we’ve got lots of experience writing and reading property surveys, we can understand how reading a property survey may be rather confusing for a first-time reader. If this is your first time getting a property survey and reading it, you may be confused by what is shown on the report.

A quick overview of the different property surveys that are available for a property. Detailing the which report, what type of property, average price and what the level of survey covers:



Homebuyers Report    

Standard properties in a fair condition, there are also options to add a survey and valuation of this type of report.

Full Building Report    

Properties that are in poor condition, larger or older and unusual buildings too.

The most in-depth type of survey you can have. This will highlight defects with the building, provide a full written report with images, and will basically include all the information you could ever wish to know about your building.

The Traffic Light System

Above we briefly mentioned the traffic light system that allows you to see the condition of your property at a glance of an eye. To save confusion we’ve briefly outlined what each colour means in terms of the traffic light system.

Red – As you may expect red means serious defects are wrong with the building and they need urgent repair.

Orange – Repair work will likely be needed in the near future but, currently isn’t serious or urgent. Repairs may still be needed.

Green – No repairs are currently needed and the building is in general condition.

When you get your property report back, you will see one of the colours on the report. It all depends on the condition your property is in and how many repairs need to be carried out on it. Just because your property is newer, doesn’t mean that you are going to get a green report back. There might be some underlying issues that have been picked up during the survey. However, knowing about the issues within the property allows you to repair them if needed.

5 Tips On How To Read A Property Survey

When it comes to the other common elements that you may come across in a property survey may well seem quite overwhelming. At McCallums we believe it’s important that our customers have all the information when it comes to how to read a property survey. We will explain the report to you at the time we hand it over. However, if you wish to look at it in more depth after this, you will need to understand it. So, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 Tips to help you understand how to read a property survey.

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To Conclude: Why Property Surveys Are So Important

We hope that is article has helped you understand why property surveys are so important. Throughout we have discussed the different types of surveys that are available as well as the associated costs. You might have a different reason to what we discussed in the article as to why you are getting a survey. But, whatever the reason, we are glad you have decided to invest in one.

We always suggest a survey to our customers that we think could benefit from one. On the other hand, we would never suggest getting one if we thought it wasn’t needed.

At McCallums we’ve been helping homeowners, investors, and professionals with property surveys for over 20 years. We are a proud independent firm located in East Anglia. We offer impartial clear and expert advice. This allows us to provide the best possible service to our clients. And provide you with the confidence that your property interests are being looked after by a team of qualified and experienced professionals.

If you have any questions or wish to speak to a member of the team, you can contact us here.

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