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A survey can save you money.

FOR many people, buying a home is one of the biggest decisions they will ever make.

However, by failing to commission a survey before purchase, homebuyers across England and Wales are risking potential bills running into thousands of pounds.

According to Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) research, a quarter of all homebuyers who fail to have a survey are forced to make unplanned building works to their property after purchase.

The average bill for these works, such as damp-proofing or repairing a roof, is over pounds 1,800 - but the cost can be much higher.

A common misconception is that a mortgage lender's valuation report represents a survey. In fact, it is merely a valuation carried out on the mortgage lender's behalf and is not designed to highlight any potential problems with the property. By commissioning a home survey, any structural problems or urgent defects are highlighted, enabling the buyer to make an informed decision before committing to the property.

The RICS Condition Report is a new home survey which is both simple and affordable. Designed for newer properties and conventional homes, it provides a clear report on the condition of the property, plus details of urgent faults and advice for legal advisors. It does not provide an additional valuation, but sits alongside a mortgage valuation.

Alongside the Condition Report, the RICS offers two additional surveys, tailored to the type and age of a property: ? RICS Condition Report: a clear, concise picture of the property with 'traffic light' ratings. It shows the condition of the property, offers advice to legal advisors and highlights details of any urgent defects. The lowest priced of the surveys; it is aimed at conventional properties and newer homes. ? RICS HomeBuyer Report: contains all the features of the Condition Report, plus a market valuation and insurance rebuild costs. It also includes advice on defects that may affect the value of the property with repairs and ongoing maintenance advice. ? A building survey: the most comprehensive report includes defects, repair and maintenance options. Essential for larger or older properties, or if you're planning major works.

RICS residential spokesman Jon Charters-Reid, of Charters-Reid Associates in York, says: "In difficult economic times it pays to be prepared. Nobody wants to be left with a home that needs extensive repairs or one they can't sell on. By having a survey you'll be armed with information on the condition of the property which puts you in a stronger position to decide whether to proceed with the purchase, or negotiate a better deal.

"Interestingly, other parts of the housing market are also using surveys to their benefit. For landlords this can be to assess their investments, while we are also seeing sellers turning to surveys in order to prepare for the sale of property. These highlight any problems that may potentially delay the sale or impact on the price later in the process."

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* INFORMATION: RICS residential spokesman Jon Charters-Reid
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jul 7, 2011
Words:489
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