How Does a Building Survey Help Buyers?

By James Brook FRICS on and updated on

When buying a new home, you may fall in love with the décor, be attracted by the ideal location or be wowed by the garden. Often though, you won’t delve too deeply into the property’s structure before making an offer. While a house may look well maintained on the outside, it’s often those bits that you can’t see, or don’t think about, such as the roof, drains, lofts and the like, that could end up hiding costly problems. This is where a building survey comes in.

What is a building survey?

A building survey, also known as a full structural survey, is a comprehensive survey that provides you with an accurate picture of the actual state of your property. A building survey will tell you what’s going on behind the scenes of your new home before you commit to buying. While more expensive than a HomeLevel Report, a building survey offers several advantages to potential buyers.

Five ways a building survey helps buyers

1. Identify any nasty defects

An in-depth building survey will look at multiple elements of a property, including its structural condition, windows and doors, and external walls, to identify issues such as areas of movement, damp and poor insulation that may not be visible to the untrained eye. Not only that, but they’ll also highlight any visible asbestos, signs of infestation and timber defects. In all, a Novello building survey will cover a minimum of 20 internal and external elements of your property so you can be sure you have a thorough insight into its actual state. We’ll even tell you what broadband speeds you can expect and offer energy efficiency advice.

2. Gain accurate repair costs

With a Novello+ building survey, we won’t just highlight problems and potential problems; we’ll give you important, actionable information to help you make an informed decision on how to proceed. Most notably, we’ll give you an idea of how much any issues identified will cost to repair. This means you will go into any property purchase fully informed about the financial impact it may have on you.

3. Plan your finances more accurately

Indeed, opting for a building survey can help you manage your finances better as you’ll have a more detailed understanding of the true cost of your purchase. Buying a house is a costly process, and you likely won’t have additional money on hand should unexpected work need to be done shortly after you’ve moved in. With a building survey, you’ll know what to expect, and if work is likely to be needed in the short term, you’ll have a good idea of what it will cost.

4. Gain a valuable tool for renegotiation

In addition, if your property turns out not to be in the condition you expect, it’s essential that you pay a fair price for it. If your initial offer was based on the perception of a property in perfect condition and this proves not to be the case, having clear evidence puts you in a strong position to renegotiate. With a thorough building survey carried out by an impartial RICS qualified chartered surveyor that includes detailed information alongside clear photographic evidence of any issues, you’ll be in the strongest possible position to renegotiate to a price that is fair for all parties.

5. Avoid nasty surprises and save money

Above all, though, a building survey will give you peace of mind both now and in the longer term. Your home will likely be the biggest purchase you make in your life, so it’s worth taking the time before exchanging contracts to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. A comprehensive building survey will enable you to do just that, potentially saving you thousands in unexpected problems and repairs.

What’s the purpose of the mortgage valuation?

Despite the clear benefits of a building survey, it may still be tempting to simply rely on the mortgage valuation to determine whether the property is worth the amount you’re offering. This is a risky move, however. The mortgage valuation is carried out on behalf of the lender to guarantee its investment. While it may note obvious defects that need to be fixed, it won’t offer detailed information about the property or share costs for any repairs. Indeed, a mortgage valuation isn’t a survey; instead, it’s a brief check to tell the lender whether the property is worth the asking price, and it shouldn’t be relied upon for insight into the state of the property.

The Novello approach

Novello was established to give people the knowledge they need to avoid poor investments, and our building surveys are a vital part of that. Our building surveys are carried out by experienced RICS qualified chartered surveyors who know the local property market in detail. As well as the skills of our surveyors, we also utilise technology to help us deliver the most detailed report possible, including pole cams to access those difficult to reach areas.

We’ll inspect all aspects of your property, including outbuildings, gardens and boundaries, roof space, drainage and much more. A comprehensive but easy-to-understand report detailing our findings will be delivered quickly and efficiently to you.

Novello’s role doesn’t stop there, however. We believe in being your partner as you navigate the house-buying process, so if you need further advice or explanations, if there are additional services we can help with, such as specialist roof surveys, or if you would benefit from speaking to professionals such as contractors or architects, we’re always on hand to share our knowledge and point you in the right direction.

To learn more about the wide range of services Novello offers, including our building surveys, get in touch today or request an Quotation.

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