Before embarking on one of the most expensive and important investments you are likely to make, buying a property, it is wise to investigate the condition of the home you are buying.
A good starting point is the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors website which clearly explains the kind of surveys which are available from their members.
The advice of a professional surveyor will mean that you can avoid expensive repairs later, be aware of any planning needs if you are expecting to carry out building works on the property, or even negotiate a reduction in the asking price before contracts are exchanged.
A survey comes in a number of guises, but the more extensive the survey the more likely you will uncover any potential issues.
The main distinction is between a homebuyers report and a structural survey. You will find that the former is referred to as a homebuyers survey and this is appropriate if you are buying a property which is a relatively new build, appears to be in good condition, and has not been extensively extended.
If you are house hunting east of the capital and need a home buyers survey Essex is a good place to start and surveyors can be found at sites such as https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/Homebuyers-Survey/Home-Buyers-Survey-Essex.
This will examine and report on the permanent structure, mention any problems and highlight any future maintenance issues. Valuation is now an optional extra, but it is worth bearing in mind that valuation is required by the lender to ensure that the sum you are borrowing to fund your purchase is covered by the current value of the property.
A structural survey will mean a more thorough inspection of the property and is advisable if it is an older build, involves traditional materials such as timber or a thatched roof, or if it has been subject to significant alterations. Also, if you are planning major changes to the building you would be well advised to carry out this kind of survey. It will involve examining accessible areas such as cellars, roof space and any significant areas underneath floors. A search for woodworm, dry rot and damp issues will also form part of this kind of survey.
When embarking on a property purchase make sure you ask for the appropriate kind of survey.