Can I get a Home Buyers Survey during the Coronavirus outbreak

5 min read
Buying a home can be a stressful process and as the COVID-19 outbreak unfolds buyers have been left uncertain on whether they can have a survey done on their property. This article focuses on the main concern’s buyers have:

  • Is there Coronavirus protection for surveyors?
  • Does the Coronavirus effect the property's value?
  • When should you book your survey?

If you are worried about whether or not you should be buying a home at all during the outbreak then you should read this article - Buying a home during the Coronavirus. We have up to date information on closed local authorities, mortgage valuation issues and problems with getting through to completion.

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Our experienced RICS Building Surveyors are local to your property, we cover the whole of England and Wales and are doing what we can to cover during the Coronavirus outbreak. With same day calls to flag major issues and availability within days of booking you can see why we get an Excellent rating on Trustpilot.

Is there Coronavirus protection for Building Surveyors?

The Corona virus is having an impact on many firms whose work involves direct contact with clients, this is causing uncertainty for many buyers, especially as government guidance continues to evolve.

The Government have advised that work carried out in people’s homes can continue provided the Building Surveyor follows the practices of the public health guidelines. The most up to date RICS guidance are:

  • Surveyors should not carry out any surveys in homes where people are in residence, and no inspections should take place if the person residing in in the property is showing symptoms, self-isolating or being shielded;
  • Surveyors should follow the latest government guidance which currently (26 March 2020) states that work carried out in people’s homes can continue, provided the building Surveyors is well and has no symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19);
  • It is important to ensure government guidelines are followed, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available); and
  • No work should be carried out by a person who has Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, however mild.

As long as the surveyor adheres to the above then it is possible to carry out surveys on empty properties, or those where the occupants are out of the property during the time of inspection, following guidance to stay at home and away from others.

Does the Coronavirus effect the property's value?

House prices might well fall during the Coronavirus outbreak; however, they could bounce back just as quickly.

When purchasing a property with a mortgage, the mortgage lender will need to get the property valued. Mortgage offers can not be issued until a mortgage valuation has been completed.

Given the current circumstances some mortgage lenders have taken the decision to not offer any new lending, they will however still consider remortgage. Lloyds/Halifax Bank of Scotland and Barclays, Skipton Building Society, Virgin Money fall under these lenders who are not lending until further notice.

The guidance from RICS is:

"Market activity is being impacted in many sectors. As at the valuation date, we consider that we can attach less weight to previous market evidence for comparison purposes, to inform opinions of value. Indeed, the current response to COVID-19 means that we are faced with an unprecedented set of circumstances on which to base a judgement"

What a property is actually worth during such unprecedented times is a tough question to answer.

Find out the latest housing market advice surrouding the Coronavirus emergency from SAM Conveyancing

When should you book your survey - during or after the Coronavirus outbreak?

There are still buyers and sellers who want, or even need, to complete during this time so the housing market is moving. The good news is our surveyors are following the latest government guidance and are still completing surveys provided the Surveyor is well and has no symptoms of Coronavirus.
Our surveyors are available to complete inspections on properties that are vacant, or those where the occupants are out of the property during the time of inspection.

Can I get a Home Buyers Survey during the Coronavirus outbreak

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the risks of not getting a house survey?

It's not a legal requirement to have a survey on a property you are buying. That being said, having a survey done could actually save you money in the long run and save you stress. A seller of the property is under no legal obligation to disclose faults or potential faults a property has.

The surveyor will attend the property and complete a defect report. This could bring to light any defects or potential faults which might cost thousands of pounds to correct. This then gives you the option to negotiate with the sellers to have the defect repaired or alternatively reduce the purchase price for the property in its current condition. Your surveyor will be able to tell if a fault is minor, thus putting your mind at rest if you are worrying unnecessarily about an issue. You can read more here - 5 reasons you need a HomeBuyer Report on a flat

Should I get a HomeBuyer Report instead of a Building survey?

What type of survey you will need can be confusing. This will depend on what type of property you are purchasing.
There are three types of surveys:

  • Level 1: RICS Condition Report - Shows the condition of the property, offers guidance to legal advisors and highlights any urgent defects.
  • Level 2: RICS HomeBuyer Report - Includes all the features of the RICS 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. You can order this survey without a valuation and reinstatement value.
  • Level 3: RICS Building Survey - Essential for larger or older properties, or if you’re planning major works. The most comprehensive report provides you with an in-depth analysis of the property's condition and includes advice on defects, repairs and maintenance options. It focuses on the structure and the fabric of the property and aims to establish how the property is built, what materials are used and how these will perform in the future.
You can read more on what type of survey your property needs here - What type of house survey do you need?
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Buying a home during the Coronavirus

Buying a home during the Coronavirus

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