House Surveys: Your Questions Answered

As one of Cork's most established consulting engineers and property surveyors in Cork, we often get questions on house surveys. When they consider purchasing a home for the first time, many are confronted with another first, contacting a house surveyor. Naturally, new customers have questions. What we have found is that, more often than not, clients have the same enquiries. So to make this information that much more accessible to our clients and the curious, we have compiled the most common questions below and included the most comprehensive answers possible.

How much are house Surveys?

House survey costs can vary based on factors such as the size and type of property and the complexity of the survey required. We recommend contacting us directly to get the most accurate pricing, and our expert can advise on pricing.

What are the different types of surveys when buying a house?

In Ireland, the surveys available when buying a house are generally similar to those in other countries. Here are the common types of surveys you can consider when purchasing a property in Ireland:

  1. Valuation Survey (Valuation Report): This basic survey aims to determine the property's market value rather than its condition. It is typically required by mortgage lenders to ensure that the property provides sufficient security for the loan. The valuation report may need to cover detailed information about the property's condition.
  2. Homebuyer's Report (Homebuyer's Survey): This mid-level survey provides a more detailed assessment of the property's condition. It aims to identify significant issues such as structural problems, dampness, and urgent defects that need attention. The homebuyer's report is suitable for standard properties in relatively good condition.
  3. Building Survey (Structural Survey or Full Survey): This is the most comprehensive type of survey. It thoroughly inspects the property, covering all accessible areas and potential issues. The building survey is recommended for older properties, more significant properties, properties in poor condition, or if you want a comprehensive inspection for peace of mind.
  4. Snagging Survey (New-Build Snagging Survey): Specific to new-build properties, this survey aims to identify and document any defects or issues with the construction and finishings before you move in. The snagging report is then provided to the developer for rectification.

It's important to note that survey terminology may vary slightly between surveyors and companies. For example, some surveyors in Ireland might refer to the Homebuyer's Report as a House Condition Survey or a Pre-Purchase Survey. Nonetheless, the content and purpose of these surveys remain consistent.

When choosing a survey, consider the property's age, size, and condition, your budget, and how much risk you are willing to take. A more detailed survey may provide better insights into the property's condition, potential issues, and necessary repairs, allowing you to make an informed decision about the purchase. Always use a qualified and reputable surveyor with experience in the Irish property market for the most accurate and reliable results.

Who conducts a pre-purchase house survey?

A qualified and professional surveyor typically conducts a pre-purchase house survey. Surveyors are trained and experienced professionals specialising in assessing and inspecting properties to identify structural issues, defects, or potential problems. They provide an impartial and detailed report on the property's condition, which can help potential buyers make informed decisions before purchasing a house.

When choosing a surveyor for a pre-purchase house survey, it's essential to look for someone registered and accredited by a recognised professional body. In Ireland, for example, you should ensure that the surveyor is a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) or the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Qualified surveyors have the expertise to conduct surveys, such as homebuyer's reports, building surveys, and snagging surveys for new-build properties. The type of survey you choose will depend on the property's age, condition, and size, as well as your specific requirements and budget.

Before commissioning a surveyor for a pre-purchase house survey, it's a good idea to research and read reviews or testimonials to ensure you're selecting a reputable and reliable professional. Additionally, you may seek recommendations from your real estate agent or friends who have recently purchased a property. A thorough and detailed survey can provide valuable information about the property's condition, potentially saving you from unexpected expenses and helping you negotiate a fair price for the house.

How long do house surveys take?

The duration of a house survey can vary depending on several factors, including the survey type, the property's size and complexity, and the surveyor's schedule. Here's a general idea of how long different types of house surveys might take:

  1. Valuation Survey (Valuation Report): An introductory valuation survey is usually quick and may take only a few hours to complete. The surveyor will focus on assessing the property's value rather than conducting a detailed inspection of its condition.
  2. Homebuyer's Report (Homebuyer's Survey): This type of survey typically takes a few hours to half a day, depending on the property's size and complexity. The surveyor will visually inspect the property, identifying any significant issues that need attention.
  3. Building Survey (Structural Survey or Full Survey): A comprehensive building survey can take a full day or even more, depending on the property's size and condition. The surveyor will conduct a thorough inspection, examining all accessible areas and identifying potential structural issues and defects.
  4. Snagging Survey (New-Build Snagging Survey): A snagging survey for a new-build property is generally quicker than other surveys. It may take a few hours to a day, depending on the size of the property and the number of issues found. The surveyor will inspect the property to identify and document any defects or unfinished work.

Keep in mind that these timeframes are approximate, and the actual duration of the survey may vary based on individual circumstances. Additionally, the availability of the surveyor and the workload at the time may also influence how soon they can conduct the survey.

After completing the survey, the surveyor will provide a detailed report outlining their findings and recommendations. This report can be an essential tool in helping you make an informed decision about the property and negotiate any necessary repairs or adjustments with the seller before finalising the purchase.

The above is not an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to contact us with any questions. Our engineer is on hand to explain everything regarding house surveys.



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