Oxford surveyor. Andrew Goodwin and associates chartered surveyors
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Frequently Asked Questions

We are always happy to share our knowledge and expertise, please feel free to call Andrew on 07788 726082 for advice.

What's the difference between a Condition Report, a Home Buyers Survey and a Building survey?

The difference lies in the detail and depth of information. The RICS Condition Report is the correct option if the property you are considering is a conventionally built and constructed house, flat or bungalow, in apparently reasonable condition and where you do not require an assessment of value. This Report focuses purely on the condition of the property, by giving clear, “traffic light” ratings (Red, Amber & Green) on the main building components. It is the briefest format of Survey we offer and the cheapest.

testimonial saying Thank you Andrew for your very comprehensive report!  My husband is printing the report to keep as a manual for all our on-going maintenance of the house.  The other items you have listed for action needed are extremely useful thank you. Mrs. W, Oxford

The RICS Home Buyers Report is a mid-range, economy package survey and is usually suited to houses, flats and bungalows of a modern origin and which are of conventional style and construction. Choose this option if you would like more information than is contained in the Condition Report and where you require an assessment of Market Value. The HomeBuyer also uses the “traffic light” ratings for the building’s condition and you will also be given additional advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance, location and local environment features and any legal issues which need addressing before purchase, together with an reinstatement cost assessment so you know what figure to use to insure the building for.

Choose the Building Survey option (sometimes called a “structural survey” by some surveyors), if you require a more comprehensive inspection and report, perhaps where the property is large, older or run-down, or a building which has been significantly altered, extended, or converted, or if you are planning major works. This survey is also appropriate when purchasing a listed property or an older property built before the 1970’s. It involves a detailed inspection and report on a wider range of issues than the previous options. We support this more in-depth report with photographs and other useful information - see our services page for more detail on each Survey option.

I'm buying a new-build house. Do I still need a survey?

Yes- a prudent purchaser would say so, as even new house-builders have been known to have an “off-day”.
If you are buying a brand new home, the chances are it will have 10-year warranty and insurance cover from NHBC. This cover is split into two periods:

  1. Damage or defects to your home which occur during the first two years from the date of legal completion.
  2. Damage to specified parts of your home (essentially the structural elements), in years 3 to 10.

Under the terms of the NHBC warranty the builder is responsible for defects evident within the first two years, the NHBC offers a structural warranty for the following 8 years. In practice, this warranty depends on the original builder being willing to accept defects and mistakes and to put them right. By commissioning a survey from one of our RICS chartered surveyors, you can be informed of any problems, defects or issues with your new home in advance. You will also have the professionally recognised report to back up your request to the builder to rectify them.

Do I need a full structural survey?

A Building Survey (formerly known as a “full” or “structural” survey) is our most detailed and comprehensive service. If you are not sure which survey option to select, please call us. With our extensive expertise and local knowledge, we will be happy to guide you to the right survey for your needs. Even if you opt for a less detailed and cheaper RICS Condition Report, or RICS HomeBuyer Report and one of our surveyors notices a major cause for concern, it will still be noted in the report and discussed with you, allowing you to make a confident decision how best to proceed.

Do I still need a survey if I’m having a mortgage valuation?

In most cases the answer is “Yes”. A mortgage valuation is simply a valuation of the property on behalf of your mortgage lender – it is not a survey; this valuation is purely for the benefit of the Lender to assess the risk of their loan against the potential resale value of the property, should you default. It will pick up on major defects which affect the overall value, however, it will not pick up on lesser, but still significant problems, which a private survey commissioned on your behalf, will. Post inspection, our surveyors supply you with a written report, supported by photographs illustrating any significant defects, to give you the best possible assessment of the property's current condition, any required repairs and ongoing maintenance, etc.

Can a survey force a seller to lower their sale price?

No. In general, any price renegotiation is rare without a survey. The survey we conduct is on your, the buyer’s behalf, so that you can be fully informed regarding the property’s current condition and any potential ongoing issues of the property you want to buy. Once we have conducted the survey and presented you with the report, we are happy to discuss and advise you of any further builders’ or specialist services quotes which may be required. Ultimately it is up to you, and potentially your mortgage lender, to assess whether, given our report, the purchase price is too high, or if the problems are too much to remedy within your budget, etc. Our RICS Home Buyer Survey also includes a current market valuation, so you will also be able to assess if the asking or agreed price is about right for the property’s current condition.

What is a probate valuation?

A probate valuation is a Market Valuation report carried out on a property where the owner has died. It is provided on behalf of the deceased’s executors for submission to HMRC. These reports are needed in connection with the calculation of inheritance tax. Please call us for more information, or a quotation.

Why do I need to pay for a house valuation when I can find one on the Internet?

Most house valuation websites are simply based on a ‘best guess’ from the average sale price of similar properties in your area and rely on data collected from the Land Registry. If the property to be valued is in the centre of a large estate of identical houses, then they can be reasonably accurate. However, in practice, even similar properties only a few doors away from each other can have different values, there being many variables, for example, the condition, orientation, immediate surroundings and any additions, such as conservatories or bathrooms, all have a bearing. With a Market Valuation from one of our qualified chartered surveyors, an experienced surveyor will assess your property in person and takes on board all the variables that makes your chosen property unique, before calculating the value.

Your question not here?
Just call Andrew on 07788 726082 and ask – we’re very happy to help.

For your peace of mind, we are Regulated by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors,(RICS). The company is registered with the RICS approved Ombudsman Services: Property scheme and we are also a member of the RICS Valuer Registration Scheme. We also operate a complaint handling procedure approved by the RICS, should it be required.
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testimonial saying it’s hard to define why, when we first spoke, I felt comfortable in dealing with you.  I am very grateful to you for your first report, then for the follow up and now the further report and correspondence.  We have appreciated your professionalism, advice and guidance - THANK YOU.


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