What does a home valuation involve?

What does a home valuation involve?

A home valuation provides an estimate of the market value of a property, based on its current condition and any apparent causes for concern.

It is normally defined as: 

The estimated amount for which an asset or liability should exchange on the valuation date between a willing buyer and a willing seller in an arm’s length transaction, after proper marketing and where the parties had each acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion”

Because Torus Chartered Surveyors are RICS Registered Valuers, you know the valuation you receive will meet the standards set out by RICS, and this means you can feel much more confident about the findings.

What happens in a RICS home valuation?

A RICS home valuation takes about half an hour for an average-sized property. Larger houses may take longer.

The RICS Registered Valuer will take measurements of the building and the plot on which it stands, make an assessment of the overall condition of the property and take some readings to detect any likely damp problems.

RICS standards no longer require a loft inspection but this can be arranged in advance on request.

Torus Chartered Surveyors carry out RICS home valuations in Manchester and North Cheshire, and you’ll usually get your valuation back within 48 hours.

What is a home valuation used for?

A property valuation is not just used for mortgage applications. There’s a long list of other reasons why a home valuation may be useful or mandatory:

  • When buying a house for cash
  • When mortgaging or remortgaging
  • Shared ownership and shared equity
  • Probate and inheritance tax valuations
  • Valuations for divorce settlements
  • Valuations for tax purposes
  • Retrospective valuations
  • Help to Buy valuations
  • Expert Witness Reports. 

We provide a fixed-fee Help to Buy valuation survey so you can get an updated market value estimate for your property, if you want to pay back some or all of the equity loan.

Our Help to Buy valuations are guaranteed compliant with Target HCA, so you can have the maximum confidence that our service will meet your needs and provide excellent value.

How to book a home valuation

To book a RICS home valuation or a RICS Help to Buy valuation, or to ask us any questions about our service, please contact our chartered surveyors in Manchester today on 0161 929 7892 or email info@house-survey.co.uk.

All enquiries are welcome and if you’re not sure what type of property survey you need, we can help you to decide and make sure you get the kind of valuation and property inspection you need, whatever process you are entering into.

New Build or Old Build Home: Which is right for me?

New Build or Old Build Home: Which is right for me?

It’s the age old question when it comes to purchasing a house: Do I choose a new build or old build home? Well, that really depends on what you’re looking for in terms of key factors such as style, budget and location.   

Some people prefer the quintessential charm and stability of an older existing property, whereas others want a more modern, low maintenance home that’s ready to be moved into. 

If you’re still deciding whether a new build or old build home is right for you, we’ve put together a useful list looking at the pros and cons of each to help you find the perfect place to call home. 

Pros of a new build house

  • A blank canvas

One of the main appeals to buying a new build is that you can customise it however you wish, without the need of renovation work. 

If you are purchasing off-plan, some house builders will give you the option of choosing your own fittings, furnishings and colour schemes too. 

  • Energy efficient

New build homes are designed to comply with the latest building regulations. This means better insulation for the walls, floors and loft, double-glazed windows and modern appliances are standard to make them as energy efficient as possible. 

  • 10 year warranty 

Most new homes in the UK come with a 10 year warranty and insurance guarantee – something you don’t get with existing properties. 

A warranty may provide cover on any major structural defects or construction issues, from faulty pipes or electrical wiring, to unsealed windows and any issues with the house’s foundations,  roofs and ceilings for example. 

  • No housing chain  

With a new build property, the buying process is hassle-free as there are no housing chains to hold you back from moving in, so you can unpack and enjoy your new home straight away. 

Cons of a new build house

  • New Build Premium

Like new cars, houses are normally sold with a hefty “new build premium”; this is an element of value which is essentially lost as soon as the house is occupied. A premium of around 10% is quite normal when you compare a brand new house to a very similar one which has been occupied for a few years, (although this figure can alter drastically from development to development). 

  • Delays

Mortgage offers are usually valid for up to six months, however if there are unexpected delays or problems regarding the construction of your new build home, your offer may expire. 

This can change the move-in date to be a couple of days or weeks behind schedule. People may also have to find alternative accommodation in the meantime, which will lead to extra costs on rent and storage. 

  • Snagging

Unfortunately, new builds get a bad reputation for a lack of quality. This can be exacerbated during times of high house construction where shortages of skilled trades can result in corners being cut. You may expect snagging issues such as loose tiles, uneven surfaces, scratches to doors and windows, or improper plastering and paintwork. 

It’s best to get a snagging survey done before you move in so that the builder can correct any minor or major defects, saving you money in the long-run. 

  • Identical 

Finally, more than often, new builds tend to lack character in comparison to older period properties. 

This is because developers like to maximise profits by fitting as many houses on one site and ensuring each property is uniformed in the plot space provided, meaning they’re a lot less spacious too. 

Pros of an old build house 

  • Unique style 

From grand Georgian and Victorian terraced houses, to the charm of a suburban 1930s dwelling, old build houses are rich with history and unique features such as ornate fireplaces, stained glass windows and porches that really makes them stand out to buyers.  

  • Location 

It’s all about location, location, location. Modern homes are built on newly developed land that does not have an established neighbourhood, and usually placed on the outskirts of the main town. 

Older properties are surrounded by a community of homeowners who have lived in the area for years. They are also nearby important amenities such as shops, schools and public transport, making it easier to commute to work.  

  • Spacious 

Typically, older homes were built with spacious rooms, high ceilings and big gardens, which is ideal for growing families and to cater to our modern storage needs. 

Cons of an old build house 

  • Renovation & redecoration

When moving into an older existing property, you may want to start renovating or redecorating to make it look and feel more modern, like fitting a new bathroom or kitchen. This is one disadvantage you’ll have to consider regarding your budget.

  • Less energy efficient 

Older houses are commonly less energy efficient than their newer counterparts. Depending on the age of the house and when it was built, there could be a number of reasons – from poorer heating systems which make it harder to heat up an entire house, galvanized pipes that are prone to rusting, a lack of wall insulation or single glazed windows instead of doubled/tripled. 

  • Maintenance costs 

As a result, the cost of maintenance and general upkeep is likely to add up, resulting in higher monthly costs and repair work to fix certain features in order for the house to run like a well-oiled machine. 

So, whether you decide to buy a new build or old build house, the experts at Torus Chartered Surveyors in Altrincham can help you get the most out of your preferred property. 

We provide comprehensive Home Survey services to first-time buyers, existing homeowners and property developers across North Cheshire and Greater Manchester, including Help To Buy valuations, RICS Condition and HomeBuyer Reports, and RICS Building Surveys

For advice and more information, please call 0161 929 7892 or email info@house-survey.co.uk. All enquiries are welcome and a friendly member of our team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

How to spot the signs of subsidence

How to spot the signs of subsidence

Subsidence affects thousands of properties every year, and could potentially reduce the value of your home if you decide to resell it.

Now it’s more important than ever as new maps from the British Geological Survey (BGS) reveal that climate change is likely to cause an increase in subsidence-related issues for British homes and properties over the next 50 years.

So, how do you spot the signs of subsidence and what should you do if your property has it? Let’s find out!

Subsidence or Settlement?

To put it simply, subsidence occurs when the buildings foundations are not supporting the building’s weight adequately; it can occur when the ground beneath your property gradually collapses or sinks, taking the building’s foundations with it. This causes the building to shift and can cause large cracks. It would normally require some remedial works such as underpinning to prevent further movement.

Settlement on the other hand occurs due to the natural compaction of the ground normally beneath a newly built house or extension and generally stabilises after some minor movement. This can also cause cracks, but is more minor in nature and not serious. Normally no remedial works are required.

The causes of subsidence

Leaking drains: Water from drains or gutters, especially after heavy rain fall can wash away the soil, leaving the ground saturated underneath your property and eventually causing it to subside.

Soil shrinkage: Dry, warm weather is one of the most common causes of subsidence. As the groundwater evaporates, porous clay soils are prone to shrink, crack and shift, leading to structural movement.

Tree roots: Trees may look harmless enough, but they can influence subsidence in a couple of ways. Firstly, they are able to extract valuable water from the soil, drying it out. And secondly, if trees are growing nearby, its roots can destabilise the ground and make your foundations uneven.

The signs of subsidence

Visible evidence of subsidence can be found on both the exterior and interior of a home. Here’s how to spot the warning signs of subsidence.

Cracks in the walls

These are the most obvious tell-tale signs of subsidence and they’re not hard to miss. Of course, you’ll get the occasional small hairline cracks in newer built properties or plastered walls, which is perfectly normal.

But if it’s wider than a 5mm, appears to be bigger at the top, and starts at the ground this can be a sign.

Sticking windows and doors

Jammed or sticking windows and doors are found in most properties but can on occasion be a sign of subsidence. If the frames appear to be warped, difficult to use, or surrounded by large gaps and cracks then this can also be a sign of subsidence.

Rippling wallpaper

Finally, does your wallpaper look rippled / crinkled at the wall and ceiling joints, but it isn’t caused by damp? Then it could be subsidence. One effective way to check is seeing if mildew, discolouration or condensation is present or not.

What should I do if my house shows signs of subsidence?

Don’t panic, most buildings do move around and normally minor cracks and movement are nothing to worry about however it is sensible to seek out a professional to help identify and diagnose the issue.

We can conduct a thorough inspection of your next property purchase via a Building Survey or HomeBuyer Survey.

Call Torus Chartered Surveyors in Altrincham now on 0161 929 7892 or fill out the form to request an instant quotation.

What is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors?

What is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors?

RICS is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. It is a global organisation that enforces standards across the surveying sector, including construction and the natural environment.

The institution covers more than 130,000 trainees and professionals, ensuring confidence in the work done by chartered surveyors worldwide.

Practicing members have to hold surveying qualifications and be able to demonstrate extensive experience and competence, they then gain the right to use one of several designations after their name. These include AssocRICS (Associate Member of RICS), MRICS (Member of RICS) and FRICS (Fellow of RICS). They need to abide by strict regulation and audit undertaken by the RICS.


Landmark dates in RICS history

RICS dates back to 1868 when 49 surveyors met at the Westminster Palace Hotel and founded the organisation. Its name has changed slightly over the years:

  • June 15th 1868: The Institution of Surveyors is founded.
  • August 26th 1881: The Surveyors’ Institution receives a Royal charter.
  • 1930: The name changes to the Chartered Surveyors’ Institution.
  • 1946: King George VI grants the ‘Royal’ title to the organisation.
  • 1947: The name officially becomes the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.


The Institution continues to set standards covering land, property and the built environment, with 18 professional groups representing specialisms within those three areas.

In 1988 it was a founding member of the Building Industry Council, which eventually became the Construction Industry Council.

And in 2013, RICS co-founded a group that developed International Property Measurement Standards, followed by International Ethics Standards in 2016.


RICS Property Surveys

For most people in the UK, RICS is best known as the regulatory body for professional property surveys, including:

These offer different levels of detail for property owners and prospective buyers to check the physical condition and market value of a property.

By getting a professionally accredited surveyor to inspect a property, you know you will receive a high-quality RICS report from an individual who must meet certain standards of continuing professional development, ongoing training and proven competence.


Make an enquiry today

If you would like to make an enquiry about a RICS accredited Condition Report, HomeBuyer Report or RICS Building Survey (also known informally as a Full Structural Survey), please contact Torus Chartered Surveyors in Altrincham today and we’ll be happy to help.

We are open for business and conducting home surveys in accordance with all government guidelines. As the pandemic eases, we will continue to work in a safe way, observing appropriate social distancing and wearing gloves and face masks for as long as necessary.

To find out more about any of our services, call 0161 929 7892 or visit our Contact page for more details.

How to prepare for a house survey

How to prepare for a house survey

Having a surveyor looking around your home can be a stressful experience. In this article, we’re here to show you how to prepare for a house survey to make their job easier and the experience less stressful for you too.

An inspection by a surveyor is an important part of several processes:

  • Valuation for mortgage/re-mortgage or help to buy purposes will normally last around 30 minutes for an average sized house.
  • An inspection for a HomeBuyers Report will normally last 1.5 to 2.5 hours for an average sized house.
  • An inspection for a full Building Survey will likely take 2.5 hours + for an average sized property and can be substantially longer for larger houses.

Whilst the visit may be inconvenient, if you are selling your property, consider the amount of money involved for your purchaser, providing access to their surveyor for a few hours would seem only reasonable.  It’s important for the surveyor to be able to work unencumbered and uninterrupted.

How can you help

  • A tidy house with easy access to all areas reduces the amount of time the surveyor will spend in your property, surveyors will often need to look at windows, fuse boxes, stop taps and utilities clearing items away from these areas can help.
  • Pets; if you have particularly nervous or aggressive animals, please think about the surveyor. Maybe getting someone to look after them during the visit or ensuring they are kept in different rooms.
  • Hiding defects with strategically placed rugs, sofas or pictures generally doesn’t work. Most surveyors are experienced enough to find them, quite often being honest about problems can allay surveyor’s and purchaser’s worries. Hiding or disguising them normally rings alarm bells, when maybe it is only a small problem.
  • Finally, please don’t try to rush the surveyor. Your purchaser has spent a lot of money on their survey and the surveyor is trying to provide a good service to their client.

Should I make minor repairs?

If there are any small DIY tasks that need doing around your property, it’s sensible to get caught up with them ahead of a house survey.

This could be something minor, like a broken light switch or plug socket, a leaking tap or pipe, or cosmetic work like peeling paint.

Nobody is expecting you to fully refurbish a house you’re about to sell – unless you plan to do this anyway to add value – but taking care of the small details can help.

Any questions?

The exact itinerary for your surveyor’s visit can depend on the level of survey you have booked, from a Condition Report or HomeBuyer Report, through to a full RICS Building Survey which can identify necessary repair work and estimate the costs involved.

If you’d like to know more about how to prepare for a house survey and what the surveyor will do on the day, please contact us on 0161 929 7892 and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

The most common house survey issues

The most common house survey issues

If you’re looking to buy a property, it’s likely you will need the services of a chartered surveyor to examine the condition of a house. Not only does a RICS HomeBuyer Report give you peace of mind, but if ordered, provide an accurate property market valuation and a reinstatement value for insurance purposes.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or existing homeowner, assessing the risk of such a huge investment can help you make an informed decision. So, here are some of the most common house survey issues you’re likely to find.


This is one of the most common house survey issues. Excess moisture from leaky roofs, damaged guttering, rising damp and poor ventilation are just some of the reasons behind damp sneaking into the house’s interior.

It can vary in levels of severity. It can be a cosmetic consideration or on some occasions it can cause wet rot and dry rot in timber which can lead to structural problems.

This can normally be rectified, although in some older houses this can be notoriously difficult to completely eradicate.

Roof issues

A sound roof, is a sound house. However, this part of the property is extremely susceptible to environmental factors such as heavy rain and wind. From cracked or missing tiles, to overflowing gutters and blocked ventilation, these can be incredibly costly to fix.

Structural movement

Another common house survey issue is structural movement or subsidence. Indicators of this are cracks in the ceilings and walls, sometimes caused by defects in the building’s foundations.

Most older houses have suffered from some structural movement and normally it is historic and nothing to be overly concerned by. A comprehensive survey will identify if movement could get worse.

Japanese knotweed

The notorious Japanese knotweed can grow rapidly and be extremely difficult to remove. Its deep roots are known to cause damage to buildings and driveways through cracks in concrete and brickwork, as well as potentiality interfere with drainage.

If identified by your house surveyor, then it is necessary to eradicate it using an accredited specialist.

Mortgage lenders take a very broad brush approach when dealing with houses with knotweed and this can make selling or mortgaging very difficult

Electric & Gas

Finally, faulty electrical wiring and lack of certification are other common house survey issues not to be overlooked. Chartered surveyors are normally not able to test the utilities in the property, they can only visually assess surface mounted fixings. However, it is highly recommended that an EICR is carried out to make sure your new home is safe.

A recent boiler test certification is also important to check all appliances and pipework are working accordingly, and vendors should be able to provide a Gas Safety Record as proof.

Book your next Homebuyer Survey

If you would like to find out more about one of our detailed HomeBuyer Surveys, please do not hesitate to contact our team of Chartered Surveyors in Altrincham at Torus.

Call us on 0161 929 7892 or request an instant quotation.

You can find out more about what to do after a bad house survey, by reading our latest blog here: http://www.house-survey.co.uk/what-to-do-after-a-bad-house-survey/