T G NORRIS | Architectal Design Services
T G Norris | Building Surveyors


Q: What is a “House Survey”?

A: A house survey is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. Our building surveyor’s report will include an evaluation of the condition of the property’s roof, attic, roof coverings, exterior, grounds; interior walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors.  A cursory view of the heating, plumbing and electrical systems is included. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up.

Q: Why you should choose to have a Professional House Inspection?

A: We cannot emphasize enough the value and necessity of a professional home inspection. Many home purchasers, either in the desire to save the €300 to €400 that a good inspection costs, or due to simple ignorance, have spent enormous sums of money repairing items that any good building surveyor would have pointed out.

Any offer to purchase you make should be contingent upon a professional house survey with a satisfactory report. Do not let anyone, not your family or friends, and especially not the seller or builders dissuade you from having the property thoroughly inspected! Not only will you sleep much sounder after you have moved into the house, a professional inspection can give you the ability to opt out of a contract on a defective house. If the contract is written contingent on an acceptable inspection, any defects in the home must be either repaired or monetarily compensated for. If you are not satisfied, you have the option to cancel the contract.

Be prepared, begin the search for a building surveyor before you place an offer on a house. If you only start trying to find an acceptable building surveyor at the last minute, the company of your choice may not be available to schedule your survey in the required time frame.  This will leave you with only two choices: to either appoint a surveyor that is not your first choice, or to run the risk of not getting the house professionally surveyed at all (which could void any chance of having the seller take care of repairs). Neither choice is an acceptable alternative!

Q: Why do I need a building survey?

A: The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy, so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards. Of course, a building survey will also point out the positive aspects of a home. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase, and will be able to make a confident buying decision.

If you have owned your home for a long time, a house survey can identify problems in the making and recommend preventive measures which might avoid costly future repairs. In addition, home sellers may opt to have a survey on their own home prior to placing it on the market.  This will help them to gain a better understanding of conditions a buyer’s building surveyor may point out. Doing this provides an opportunity to make repairs prior to going to market, that will put the house in better selling condition, and contribute to a quicker sale.

Q: How much does a house survey cost?

A: The house survey cost for a typical single family residence varies. The building survey cost will depend upon the size of the house, particular features of the house, its age, and possible additional services, such as wells or septic systems.
However, do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a house survey, or in the selection of your building surveyor. The knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest priced surveyor is not necessarily a bargain.

Q: Can I do the survey myself?

A: Even the most experienced home owner lacks the expertise and knowledge a professional building surveyor has, and the experience they have gained from inspecting thousands of homes throughout their career. A building surveyor is familiar with all the elements of home construction, their proper installation, and maintenance. They understand how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail.

Above all, most buyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate picture, it is best to obtain an impartial third party opinion by an expert in the field of building surveys.

Q: Can a house fail a survey?

A: No. A professional building survey is an examination of the current condition of the property being inspected. A building surveyor, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what may need to be repaired or replaced.

Q: When do I call in the building surveyor?

A: A building surveyor is typically called right after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed, and is often available within a few days. However, before you sign be sure that there is a building survey clause in the contract, making your purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional building survey.

Q: Do I have to be present at the survey?

A: It is not necessary for you to be present for the survey.

Q: What if the report reveals problems?

A: No house is perfect. If the surveyor finds problems it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. A seller may be flexible with the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are found. If your budget is very tight, or if you don’t wish to become involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely important to you.

Q: What if I find problems after I move into my new home?

A: A building survey is not a guarantee that problems won’t develop after you move in. However, if you believe that a problem was already visible at the time of the survey and should have been mentioned in the report, your first step should be to call and meet with the surveyor to clarify the situation. Misunderstandings are often resolved in this manner.

All building surveyors should carry professional indemnity liability insurance. The minimum amount of insurance coverage should cover the cost of re-instating your house if the surveyor misses something that he should have reported on.

Q: If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?

A: Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with peace of mind about the condition of the property. You will also have learned a few things about your new home from the surveyor’s report, and will want to keep that information for future reference. Above all, you can feel assured that you are making a well informed purchase decision, and that you will be able to enjoy your new home the way you want to.

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T G Norris | Building Surveyors
T G Norris | Building Surveyors
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T G Norris Surveyors London

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