28 October 2010 by Sonal Ghelani

I am monarch of all I survey; my right there is none to dispute….

You will be familiar with the expression ‘let the buyer beware’ or for the Latin minded, ‘caveat emptor’. In short, this means that it is for a purchaser to ensure that the property they are buying has no physical defects and is structurally sound.

This week one homeowner in Durham was surprised to hear that his property was valued at £1.00 when he had bought it for £86,000.00. The house was tenanted and he had spent a substantial amount of money renovating it. According to the property survey carried out for Nationwide the property was suffering from damp, rot and there were concerns about the stability of the roof. The £1.00 price tag is a standard valuation applied by Nationwide’s surveyors when the property is unsuitable for lending. This is an extreme example, however it clearly shows the importance of carrying out your own survey.

The owner of the Durham property could have avoided this problem, or at least been prepared for it, had he carried out a full survey before he bought the property.

While all lenders will carry out a standard valuation, this is no substitute for a survey. Your valuation may conclude that the property is worth the price that you are paying, however, a survey will go further and reveal any structural defects and the extent of any damp or rot that will not necessarily be picked up by a valuer.

The value of this information in the detailed report cannot be underestimated! It may be the difference between going ahead with a purchase and walking away. On a lesser scale, it may re-open price negotiations, for example if you are going to have to spend thousands of pounds on roof repairs or damp proofing.

A surveyor should be a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and there are two basic types of survey:

Homebuyers’ Survey

This survey is suitable for most twentieth/twenty-first century properties. Although not as thorough as a full structural survey, the report will cover:

  1. State of repair and condition of the property
  2. Any significant factors likely to affect the value
  3. The value for insurance purposes
  4. The value of the property in the open market
  5. Any major and minor defects including any damp, woodworm, rot problems and the potential cost of repairs
  6. Whether you should instruct a more specialised inspection and
  7. What your legal advisor should be looking out for or querying with the seller’s solicitors.

Full Structural Survey (Building Survey)

This survey is often instructed for older properties (but it should not be assumed that new properties are “exempt” from surveys!) or those that have been altered extensively or which you intend to alter or renovate and is a more costly but consequently more comprehensive.This survey will:

    • Explore in more detail the issues that are dealt with in a Homebuyers’ Report
    • Deal with the foundations and structure
    • Set out the cost of any necessary repairs and
    • Recommend if any further specialists should be appointed for further investigation.

If you are buying a property and are confused about valuations and surveys, we will be happy to recommend a local surveyor to you.

For this and any other help with buying or selling a property, please contact Sonal Ghelani on sonalghelani@boltburdon.co.uk or tel. 020 7288 4735.

22 October 2010 by Sonal Ghelani

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25 October 2010 by

Thou Shalt Not……….. Restrictive Covenants and what they mean to you

Covenants are 'promises' or 'obligations' to either do or not do something, they are found in many legal documents and the vast majority of properties in England will be affected by them in some way. Even when land is bought and sold these covenants 'run with the land' and will affect all future owners.

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