Most people know that if you are buying a house, you should get a home buyer’s survey. This will provide you with plenty of information to aid your purchasing decision and help with negotiations. For example, if the survey shows that there is thousands of pounds worth of repairs that haven’t been taken into consideration with the property valuation, it would be worth trying to negotiate the price down.
This said, we sometimes receive enquiries from people that are buying a flat/apartment, asking whether they still need to have a survey. They reason that if they are not on the ground floor, the condition shouldn’t affect them.
So, should you still get a survey for a flat? The short answer is yes. A flat is still a home and can have many of the same issues as a house. Not only will the survey provide a report on the condition of the flat that you are purchasing, but also of the building as a whole. If you are on the top floor, the roof and loft space should be of particular interest to you and the whole building structure is also very important. Likewise the ground floor could have issues with subsidence and damp. Of course, anything in-between will also be affected by these issues, so it’s best to find out as much as you can before buying your flat.
Shouldn’t the building’s management company deal with building maintenance?
One of the reasons that people don’t think they need to get a home buyer’s survey is that they assume that the management company will deal with any maintenance issues that would be covered in a survey. Whilst this is the ideal situation, it is unlikely to be so straightforward. When this is sorted, it will also likely come out of your service charge contributions, so it is good to know what your money will be going towards and know what you are getting yourself into.
What is different with a home buyer’s survey for a flat?
The main difference with a homebuyer’s survey for a flat is that it is a harder job for the surveyor. They will still need to inspect the roof, gutters and more if possible. They will often have you use long poles with cameras on them, binoculars or even drones to view areas that are hard to get access to.
The surveyor will also be able to assess the rest of the exterior of the building and any communal areas. They will reveal things such as if there will need to be repairs to brickwork or if the building needs repainting. Normally, this wouldn’t necessarily be a major concern, but considering the size of a block of flats, this would require scaffolding and a lot more work that on a single house.
To conclude, whichever property you are buying, you should get a survey completed before completing the purchase. At the very least, with a home buyer’s survey for a flat, you are avoiding any nasty surprises and at best you could be saving thousands in the long-term. Finally, to ensure that your survey will follow strict guides and provide you with all the information required, choose a RICS surveyor to complete your survey. This will ensure the quality and consistency you need to make your purchasing decision.
For more information on Munday + Cramer’s building surveying services, or if you would like to find out more about our architectural services, operating in Essex, London, Kent, Norfolk and Suffolk, then get in touch! Contact Munday + Cramer today on 01245 326 200.