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 Surveys & Valuations




from £ 199 plus vat

This is the most popular type of survey, suitable for the vast majority homes built since the late Victorian period. The inspection covers the whole property inside and out, from the loft down to the drains, and is written on a specially designed RICS report, typically about 12 pages long.

A Homebuyer Report (HBR) will report on all urgent or significant defects – in fact anything that could significantly affect the value. It also alerts you to any future maintenance problems. The report includes a valuation and insurance calculation. Carried out by a qualified MRICS or FRICS chartered surveyor.

Not normally suitable for older period buildings, large rambling mansions, or properties in need of extensive renovation.



from £ 332 plus vat

Formerly known as ‘Full Structural Surveys’, these provide a very detailed description of a building’s construction and condition. Ideal for properties that you want to renovate or convert, and where buildings have already been extensively altered.  

Building Surveys allow the surveyor to express extensive detailed advice and are typically at least 20 pages long. Essential for period properties older than about 1880,  such as thatched cottages, and for large homes with 5 or more bedrooms, and buildings of non-conventional construction.

As well as covering all urgent and significant defects, a Building Surveys will report on very minor issues. A valuation is not normally included unless requested. Carried out by a qualified MRICS or FRICS chartered surveyor.


 VALUATION REPORT  from £119 plus vat                                                                        

The simplest type of property inspection. Unlike estate agents' valuations, surveyors' valuation reports are legally binding, and valid for matrimonial and tax purposes.  We can also undertake mortgage valuations for all main lenders in partnership with a leading national firm of Surveyors. Note that for lenders' mortgage valuations, the individual bank or building societies dictate their own fees.

The inspection is relatively limited and will only comment on any obvious major defects that have a significant bearing on value.  Valuations are carried out by qualified MRICS or FRICS chartered surveyors. The reports are normally 2 or 3 pages in length, and include a professionally calculated BCIS rebuild cost insurance valuation. Valuations are normally calculated with reference to at least 3 recent local sales of comparable properties.


Homebuyer Surveys        Building Surveys       HIPs        Valuations      EPCs







EPC icon

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

 from £ 59 plus vat

For home sellers, the EPC is the only part of a HIP you can't do yourself, and so can be ordered separately.

For Landlords an EPC is also required when letting a property.

The EPC gives homes an  ' A to G' energy rating, similar to those on new fridges. Only qualified and certificated Domestic Energy Assessors are allowed to prepare Energy Performance Certificates. 

See sample EPC                           


Submitting a Local Authority Search

You want the Local Authority to begin processing your search application on the day they receive it.  So double check before submitting it, because incomplete applications comonly cause delay and occasionally have to be returned. When submitting a Local Authority Search, please be aware of the following: 

  • form LLC1 must be submitted in duplicate
  • form CON29(R) Required Enquiries of the Local Authority (2007 edition) and CON29(O) Optional Enquiries of the Local Authority (2007 edition) must be submitted in duplicate.
  • Each search request form, LLC1, CON29 Required or CON29 Optional is now a standalone document and can be submitted in any combination along with the correct fee. If you wish to check an area of land/property to ascertain the correct fee, contact the Local Authority first.
  • An up to date plan of the property must be submitted in duplicate. The area to be searched against should be clearly identified, preferably edged in red
  • The fee received must be correct before an application can be processed.Check the required payment method - e.g. cheques, cash, bankers drafts or postal orders and BACS for NLIS searches submitted online
  • Box C on the CON29(R) form: please identify the roadways, footpaths and footways either by name or by colouring the areas on the plan submitted with your search

Searches submitted electronically via the NLIS Hub are on the revised CON29 forms.

All information necessary to complete the CON29 "Required" element of the HIP, which includes unrefined information (i.e. not held on a statutory register), is normally made available on submission of the CON29(R) form with payment in advance.









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Lenders want to make sure that you are a good risk and do not have a history of bad debts and unpaid loans behind you. To do this they will do two things. First they will check your entry on credit registers. Credit reference agencies such as Experian, Equifax and CallCredit PLC hold factual information about you and this allows a lender to check your name & address and your past credit history, including any County Court Judgements or defaults recorded against you. This will provide your 'credit refererence'.

The second thing that the lender will do will be to credit score you. They do this by allocating points to a variety of questions they have asked you. They then add up the total points score and you either pass or fail depending on the result. For example, they are likely to award you more points the longer you have been resident at your current address or with your current employer. They will also take into account things such as your occupation, your age, whether you have a home telephone and how long you have been with your bank etc. Lenders will never divulge how their credit scoring works for fear of fraud and each lender will have their own system. The fact that you have been turned down by one lender will not necessarily mean that you will be declined by others.

A poor credit record won't necessarily prevent you from getting a
credit card, but you will probably have to pay a higher interest rate. The self employed, or those - increasingly common these days - on short-term contracts may not be such an attractive risk to lenders.

People are refused credit for a number of different reasons and there is no automatic 'right' to credit, although it is illegal to refuse credit for reasons such as race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or address.

A common reason however for being turned down for credit may be because information held about you by a credit reference agency, or information provided in your application form, suggests that you will have problems repaying. Another very common reason for being turned down is that you may not appear on the Electoral Roll with the credit agencies at your quoted address. If you are having difficulties in obtaining credit then it is always worth checking that you actually appear on the voters roll at your current address. If you don't, you'll be lucky to get credit anywhere. You can check this by reference to Experian ( or Equifax (

If a lender turns you down for credit they must explain to you the reason. However, they do not have to go into detail and simply have to tell you whether it is due to their credit scoring or information from the credit reference agencies.



You can check your credit file by visiting any 3 of the UK credit agencies below

or by using services such as  














Rather than pick a conveyancer at random from the yellow pages, ask your estate agent or mortgage broker to make a suggestion.They deal with conveyancers virtually daily and should know the ones who do a decent job. You may even be able to negotiate a discount on the legal fees. Your solicitor / conveyancer doesn't have to be locally based as you may never need to deal with them face-to-face.


Find a local conveyancer                 





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Sellers and the law

Sellers are not legally obliged to inform the purchaser of any problems with the property, although they are required to answer truthfully any questions put to them by the buyer. (The buyer's rights are protected by the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991). Therefore, it is important that all searches relating to potential problems with the site and building are exhaustive. From June 2007, sellers will be legally required by the Government to provide a Home Information Pack to all potential buyers. This will include useful information and should save time on preliminary searches: it should make the process easier for the purchaser and decrease the number of failed transactions. The Government has brought in this new policy as part of the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Bill, in response to a feeling that the process of buying a house in England and Wales was unnecessarily stressful, complicated and time consuming.











Tenacy Deposit Scheme

All deposits paid to landlords after 6 April 2007 should be covered by a tenancy deposit protection scheme.  These schemes provide two things.  The first is repayment of the deposit to tenants at the end of a tenancy less any agreed amounts for damages or shortfalls in rent.  The second is a free service to sort out any disagreements between landlords and tenants without the need to go to court.

There are two types of scheme.  In a custodial scheme landlords pay the deposit into the scheme and it earns interest.  In an insurance scheme landlords keep the money but must pay a premium to cover the deposit.

Tenants should be given written details of the scheme used to protect their deposits within 14 days of taking a deposit.  It is also good practice for landlords and tenants to agree an inventory covering the contents and condition of a property.

The agreed amount of deposit should be paid back to a tenant within 10 days.  Landlords will need to advise a custodial scheme, which will pay the landlord and tenant the agreed amounts.  In an insurance based scheme the landlord is responsible for paying any agreed amounts directly to the tenant. 

When landlord and tenant disagree, any undisputed amounts will be paid and the schemes will retain the disputed amounts until an agreement is reached.

Landlords not joining a scheme will be fined three times the value of the deposit and will be required to refund the deposit to the tenant.  They will also be unable to evict tenants using the "notice only" procedure.

This is a quick overview the legal requirements introduced on 6 April 2007 for tenancy deposit schemes.  For more detailed information you should consult the organisations listed below.


Directgov :

The Deposit Protection Service : Tel -0870 707 1707    website

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme : Tel - 0845 226 7837    website

Tenancy Deposit Solutions : Tel - 0871 703 0552    website


Some useful information about renting & letting

Mortgage Lender’s Consent

The consent of the mortgage lender (where applicable) will be necessary before the property is let out.  Consent can normally be arranged by contacting the branch of the bank or building society where the mortgage is held, and completing a relatively straightforward form. Some lenders may require sight of the proposed lease and other statutory documentation .


It is essential that you notify your insurers of your intention to offer your home for rent and, in certain circumstances, the insurers may impose special conditions, increase the premium, or both.  It is now possible to arrange a legal protection policy that provides wide-ranging cover in the unlikely event of a problem arising with your letting.


An essential part of any letting service is the preparation of an inventory of the landlord’s furniture, fixtures and fittings. This should be agreed with the tenants at check-in. You should ensure that instructions booklets are available at the property for all electrical appliances to assist the tenant in safe usage of the equipment and central heating systems, along with a note of the location of all stopcocks for gas, water etc .

Statutory Regulations

Gas, Electrical and Soft Furnishing Safety Legislation Consumer Protection Act (1987).
Fire and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) (Amendments) Regulations 1983
Fire and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988
Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations 1989
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994

All residential property for let is now affected by the stringent safety regulations detailed above .  A summary of the requirements is as follows.

Gas Safety ((Installation and Use) Regulations 1994

These regulations apply to landlords of all domestic property and their agents. In practice, this means that all gas appliances within the property require to be checked on an annual basis by a Corgi registered installer and given a certificate of compliance. Where a landlord already has a British Gas Three Star service contract in place, these safety checks should be carried out as part of the agreed service contract , however, you should get confirmation of this from British Gas.  Accurate records of the safety checks and maintenance visits must be kept and made available to tenants.

Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988

As of 31 December 1996, all furniture (except furniture made before 1950) included in the accommodation that is for let has to meet all the current fire resistance requirements. The regulations apply to sofas, beds, bedheads, children‘s furniture, garden furniture suitable for use indoors, scatter cushions, pillows, stretch and loose covers for furniture and other similar items. The regulations do not apply to curtains, carpets, bedclothes (including duvets) or mattress covers.

Electrical Safety

In addition to the gas and furnishings regulations, landlords are also required to comply with the appropriate sections of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations as regards electrical safety. In practical terms, this means that an electrical safety check must be carried out on the property on an annual basis, to include not only the installation , but also portable electrical appliances that are provided by the landlord.

The Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations, along with the Consumer Protection Act, require anyone engaged in the resale or hiring of portable electrical appliances to take adequate steps to protect users of those appliances from the effects of shock or fire hazard.

Money Laundering Requirements

Legislation requires lettings agents to ask prospective landlords for a copy of their passport and a copy of a utility bill addressed to their principle residence.








        Non-traditional Property











A pair of 'Airey's 1950s semis   PRC problems   'Unity' semis


Click here for info on PRC properties


PRC Homes

Following the Second World War an urgent need for housing was identified at a time when traditional building materials and skilled labour were in short supply. This led to a need for cheap and easily erected properties to be designed, the component parts produced in factories and then sent out to sites throughout the United Kingdom to be erected by largely unskilled labour. These houses were only ever meant to be a short-term solution however.

Tens of thousands of properties still remained and in the early 1980s, following the discovery of cracking in the columns of an Airey property a comprehensive investigation was undertaken to establish the condition of precast reinforced concrete houses built before 1960. Evaluations were carried out on 17 common types of PRC Houses including Cornish Unit, Unity, Wates, Airey, Woolaway, Hawksley and Reema Hollow Panel constructions.

The main load bearing components were examined to establish condition along with external and internal concrete elements. The investigations on site consisted of visual inspections, removal of concrete samples for testing and studying of original design and construction documentation.

It was discovered that in a long term chemical process known as carbonation, carbon dioxide interacted with the concrete to change its composition so that the protection afforded to the steel reinforcement would eventually be lost and in due course concrete houses would eventually become unsound. Further problems were found where moisture had penetrated the original structure causing the steel reinforcement to rust, the rusting steel would expand cracking the concrete from the inside.

It is generally a slow process and it was found that in most cases structural failure would not occur for some time however more than 20 types of PRC houses were classified as defective under the Housing Defects Act 1984. At this time Banks and Building Societies indicated a reluctance to continue to lend on these properties leaving owners and tenants wishing to buy with few options.













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