What does 'Structural Survey' mean when buying a property?
Find out what Structural Survey means when you are buying a property. 'What does Structural Survey mean?' plus over 150 other property related terms and jargon in plain English
After you have had your offer accepted by the vendor of a property one of the first steps is to have some basic checks carried out on the actual property itself - this is known as the Survey.
You can choose one of three types:
- Valuation Survey - an independent company (a surveyor) will visit the property and compare it to others which have sold in the area recently to assess its value.
- Homebuyers Survey - a valuation as above and some basic checks for issues such as penetrating damp.
- A structural survey.
The term structural is a bit misleading here. The surveyor is not a qualified structural engineer so he or she is only able to look for tell tale signs that there may be issues such as subsidence or heave.
The surveyor will also have a good old poke around in the roof, look for damp, consider the electrics and plumbing and so on.
The trouble is they are not qualified to make concrete conclusions on any of these things or possible costs, only to suggest where you should get a specialist to take a closer look.
Furthermore a valuation survey will flag up any major problems (such as subsidence) because it will affect the value of the property and as a valuation survey can be one tenth the cost of a structural survey I've never truly seen the point.
If I'm buying a house and its a period property it makes far more sense just to pay for a structural engineer, a plumber, an electrician, a roofer and a damp specialist to make reports. Then I know, from people qualified in their fields, all the possible issues and the costs of having them addressed.
This will cost slightly more than a structural survey but instead of some vague thoughts on possible issues I have concrete knowledge of the state of the property which helps me budget for the future. A structural engineers report is also a great document to have when selling later as a structural surveyor (if that is who my buyer has instructed because they haven't read my book) will rarely contradict it.
To find out how to handle all the steps in purchasing a property the smart way pick up a copy of my ebook How to Really Buy a Property.