Do You Need a Damp & Timber Survey?
The mistake that I made when I was purchasing my first property was that I opted for a Home Buyers Report instead of the Basic Valuation that the lender normally does. This resulted in the lender asking me to do a Damp and Timber survey and to send the report to them afterwards.
I wanted to be sure that nothing was wrong with the property I was buying so I decided to pay £400 for the Home Buyers report to get a more detailed understanding of the property. Once this report was sent to me, there were a couple of things which required further investigation as the surveyor normally does not try to lift or move things to help with his investigation. With his dampness device reader, he noticed a higher reading of dampness under the stairs close to the front door and at the back of the house. He therefore suggested in his report that we investigate this issue further just to be on the safe side.
The report the surveyor sends to the lender however is much less detailed. It just says whether the property is worth the price you are paying for and a summary of his findings. Surprisingly I got a call from the lender asking me to perform a Damp & Timber Survey and when I asked why, they said that their surveyor has brought this to their attention and they wouldn't lend the money unless they got a report which said there's nothing to worry regarding dampness and timber infestation.
After doing some research, I found that a damp & timber survey can cost as high as £360 and as I've already paid £400 for a valuation of the house and I was not ready to pay again for something I deemed not important. So I made a call to the surveyor in question and I asked whether this damp & timber report was a must and he said no. It was just something that needed further investigation and it was up to me to do it or not. I made a call to the lender then and said I don't see why I need to send a damp & timber report when my Home Buyers report does not flag this as urgent and I suggested that I would send them a copy of my Home Buyers report so that they can see it for themselves. The outcome was very positive and the lender then said that there was no need for me to do this D & T report and the mortgage will be moving forward without any further delay.
How much does a Damp & Timber Survey cost
The prices for the report vary from company to company. Below are the fees I was quoted when I contacted a few companies:
- ukdamp.co.uk - £350
- warddamp.com (0208 208 2033) - £150
- timberwise.co.uk (0800 991 1000) - £80 + VAT
- protenservices.co.uk (0800 100 1928) - £176.25
Just remember that the company/surveyor who does the survey for you needs to be BWPDA (British Wood Preserving and Damp Proofing Association) registered, now known as PCA (Property Care Association), otherwise the lender may refuse to accept the report.
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The ‘basic’ survey that the lender requires and makes you pay for is simply a valuation. They need to ensure the property is suitable security for the loan, (otherwise some bright spark may try and borrow 100k on a garden shed). Sometimes this ‘valuer’ will not even enter the property instead opting do a drive by valuation. This is good enough for the bank but you would be mad to part with any sizeable money without a real ‘survey’. Most buyers will go for a Homebuyers with the lender on the basis of cost.
To avoid the issue mentioned above you can opt for the ‘basic valuation’ with the lender and then instruct your own surveyor to do a ‘Homebuyers’ or ‘Full structural’(ask your estate agent for a recommendation or look on the web. Depending on the property the surveyor should guide you on the type most appropriate). A homebuyers or structural report this way will avoid the bank noting any issues.
It’s best to look on it as part of the purchase price rather than an added expense. If nothing comes back on the report, great, if something does you can use this to negotiate with the vendor and drive the price down accordingly.
My main advice would be to use a recommended mortgage broker. We deal with these issues all the time and are the only people truly on your side in the whole buying process (remember the estate is selling the house, not finding you a home, the ‘valuer’ is working on the banks criteria, the solicitor also by law works on behalf of lender).
If the mortgage lender requires a damp and timber report it’s likely every other lender will want the same, so the vendor should pay for this on the basis if you pull out the next buyer will need the same thing. So in the interest of speed they should pay for the £200 or at least half. Some estate agents are more knowledgeable and experienced and will help you negotiate this, others will just push you closer to exchange as unsurprisingly this is when they get paid!!
If the property is pre 1960 I would say there is a very good chance the lender will require one of these reports.
One last point, the surveyor also needs to cover himself and will always recommend actions. It is worth noting only with a ‘Full Structural’ are you covered by the surveyors insurance in case they get it wrong or miss anything. You get what you pay for, if you are worried about a few extra hundred pounds when you are spending £100k plus you are a little crazy! The 200-400 extra costs could save you 1000’s later on. (Ask my client who had a basic valuation done against my advice as he wanted to save money, 6 months later he had to move out of the house as the roof started falling in – cost, £27,000!)
Hi you have mentioned in your webpage that the company/surveyors need to be BWPDA registered known now as PCA.
Companies or surveyors who are also registered and approved with the CGS (Construction Guarantee Services Ltd)to carry out Damp,Timber,Cavity Wall Tie inspections,surveys and written inspection survey reports are also accepted by Banks and Building Societies.
Clients are also able to choose an approved member to contact from the list of approved contractors that covers a vast area across the United Kingdom.
All CGS approved members have been fully vetted before CGS approval is awarded.
By choosing a CGS approved contractor to have your damp,timber or wall tie inspection survey carried out on the property being purchased suggested by the bank or building society in the valuation report,clients are choosing competence over cowboys.
Check it out where more Information can be found on the following CGS website regarding who are approved...www.cgsins.co.uk