Any experience of full v basic structual survey

  mrwoowoo 19:15 20 Jul 2008
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I would appreciate comments on the difference between the two from anyone who has had both.
I know the recommendations and reasons why and when it is advisable to have a full, rather than a basic survey.My reason for asking is that some people have said there is not much difference between the two and commented that a full one was a waste of money, as the surveyor hardly did anything.
So,was a full one value for money?

  John B 19:33 20 Jul 2008
  Forum Editor 19:43 20 Jul 2008

will not tell you much more than you could find out for yourself if you know what to look for. This is the kind of survey that is often called a 'homebuyer's survey', and it covers the obvious - whether the roof looks sound, whether there's any visible structural cracking, or bridging of the damp-proof course.....that kind of thing.

A full survey will be very much more detailed, and would involve an inspection of the roof timbers, a visual examination of electrical wiring, visible plumbing, the condition of external timbers, windows, etc.

It is as comprehensive a survey as you'll get prior to purchasing a house, but because the surveyor can't lift floorboards it won't cover the one area of a house (particularly an older house) where the potential for trouble is at its greatest. Older houses - particularly those built in the 19th century and the early part of the twentieth century are more prone to wet and dry rot beneath the ground floor, and to be perfectly sure you would need to open up and inspect the floor voids.

Some people may have said that the surveyor hardly seemd to do anything, but that might have been because they didn't know what he/she was seeing - an experienced surveyor is used to appraising buildings. Whether or not you consider it value for money is a personal judgment thing. A decvent survey can save you from an expensive mistake, or confirm your initial good impression. Either way you're being protected - you can sue a surveyor for negligence if he/she fails to spot a problem that would have been obvious to the trained eye, and you suffer a loss as a consequence.

  wiz-king 19:46 20 Jul 2008

It would depend on who wants it.
If it's for a mortgage and is wanted by the finance people then they only want to know if they will get their money back if they sell it, = basic.
But, if it's for the prospective owner and he/she might want to know of any repairs that are going to be needed in the next 10 years = full.

It would depend on who is doing the survey, if you get a good chartered surveyor it will cost you more but may pay for itself in time. When I bought my house I had a full survey done as the house was over 100 years old. The surveyor spent quite a lot of time looking in the loft, under the floor boards and even dug a hole in the garden by one of the walls, and he pointed out a couple of structural problems that would need attention in the next few years (I got round to them after about 20 years).

  Woolwell 19:46 20 Jul 2008

FE has summed up it up pretty well. It does depend on the age of the house. I would add an electrical inspection for any house that has had alterations or has not been rewired.

  interzone55 20:13 20 Jul 2008

The perspective buyers of the house next door to my mother-in-law will gladly tell you the benefits of a full survey.

As the house, a converted 17th century barn, has been on the market for 18 months it doesn't have a HIPS pack. The buyers had a basic survey, which returned a clean bill of health.

Then the bank, concerned about handing over close to £1/2m sent in someone to do a full survey. The results sent them running away screaming.

All the external walls are damp up to the ground floor ceiling, and the cellar is ankle deep in water.

Whoever carried out the basic survey must have stayed in their car at the bottom of the lane...

  mrwoowoo 20:13 20 Jul 2008

Thanks for all the replies.
Forum Editor
I may well look under the floorboards and loft etc as the house in question is empty,due to a bereavement in our family.I have the opportunity to purchase it for considerably less than our present home, with the view to renewing everything and then be mortgage free.
It's quite a good opportunity as we could do it up before we move in.
Access to the loft etc and the chance to inspect it myself whenever i please was part reason for my question.Obviously i know what subsidence,dry rot,rising damp and woodworm look like but may still get a full structural survey done just to be sure.It is rather neglected.
Things to do include all walls replastered a new kitchen and new bathroom.
Replastering because it's the original plaster (1926) and is crumbling,which does suggest damp,although there are no signs of black/damp marks anywhere.So it's a case of knocking off the old plaster,damp proofing the walls and replastering.

  mrwoowoo 20:17 20 Jul 2008

Thanks for that.
I think that just about swings it for peace of mind even though i will be investigating myself.

  wiz-king 20:50 20 Jul 2008

You may find that the damp course is either broken, that someone has rendered over it or landscaped a path above it. As you almost certainly will not have cavity walls the damp can penetrate if the bricks or pointing get damaged.
Be carefully removing the old plaster, the under plaster may be lime mortar with horsehair and that can be a right hard job to work with.

  spuds 11:00 21 Jul 2008

Whatever you do, be careful, and especially regarding lifting floorboards in an old property. With metrication you might not get replacement timber easily. We had a survey done on an old property, and the 'floor lifters' made a right mess.

  sunny staines 11:48 21 Jul 2008

make sure a full survey has a guarantee for any faults missed that come to light after moving in.

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