So you have did the right thing, you booked me to carry out a survey and the report has just arrived in your email inbox. Now what?

Most of the reports I send out are around 70 to 80 pages long so they can sometimes seems a little intimidating. Don’t worry, reading the report won’t feel like working your way through ‘War and Peace’. Part of the reason why they are so long is to make them accessible and easy to read, this is particularly important if you are reading the report on a tablet or smaller screen. In addition, the report will also include a lot of photos and diagrams, often between 40 and 60. These should help you easily understand something that is being described in the report such as the location of a defect or a detail about how the property is built.

The next thing to remember is that whilst it is important that you do read all of the report there may be some sections that are more important than others. To help you easily identify the most significant issues in the report each element of the property will have a Condition Rating, these are summarised in the index and they are colour coded so you can see them clearly. Each element will have a rating of 1, 2, 3 of HS.

HS is for Health and Safety, this might be something that could present a serious risk but may only need minimal work to resolve or perhaps just making sure the correct paper is present and proves something is safe.

3 is for the most serious problems or defects. This could include a serious risk to health that might need a lot of work to resolve or it might be a defect that either needs a lot of work to fix or needs doing very soon. This rating also covers anything that might need to be investigated further.

You should make sure that you do anything required under an element with either of these two headings as soon as possible and definitely before you exchange contracts or make any other form of legal commitment to purchase the property. You might choose to read these sections first because there might be something there that mean you can’t proceed with the purchase but also because if some investigations need doing these could take time to organise, particularly if works such as opening up walls or lifting floor boards is required.

Where an element is given a condition rating of 2 then this means there is a problem or defect which will need to be addressed but it is not significant enough to warrant a rating of 3. These might be issues that might not cost as much to repair or could perhaps be left for a little while as they are unlikely to get worse. You might choose to read these sections next but it is important that you do still read them as there could still be something there that might effects decisions you need to make.

The last rating is 1, this is for elements that are fundamentally in an OK condition. There might be some minor or cosmetic problems or they might need a little maintenance but they should not need anything major doing. You could leave reading these section to last but again it is important that you do read all the report as there may also be something in here that is relevant to any decision you need to make.

Along with all the information within the report about the physical condition of the buildings and grounds there will also be a information about the Energy Efficiency of the property, this is in section 2.6.

Reducing the energy we use to heat and power our homes is important both to help protect the planet and to cuts bills. This section will include some information about the current energy performance of the property but it will also include advise on how it can be improved. There may be something in this section that could save you a lot of money so it is definitely worth reading!
You will also find in several places within the report advice and guidance on how you can improve the overall sustainability of the property, these are all indicated clearly in the report.

One last section that is helpful is section 3. This section firstly includes a lot of information your conveyancer or legal advisor will find really useful. There will be thins in there they need to know so it is best to send them a copy of the report and direct them to this section in particular.

The next part of this section details any health and safety risk at the property. These will also be detailed under the relevant sections of the report this part will give you a good summery.
The last part is relevant environmental matters, this might be anything from flooding to subsidence risk or Japanese Knotweed.

Your Home Buyers Survey or Building Survey may seem like a lot when you first start to read but it has been designed to be easy to read and will be written in a way that will help you understand what I have found at the property. Much as I try to make it as helpful as possible there may of course be things that aren’t quite clear or you would like to understand better and that is why I always encourage all my clients to give me a ring once they have read their report. Not only is a great way for you to understand more it also give me a chance to talk about buildings which makes me happy!

If you are reading this and have not yet booked a survey then get in touch here.