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Surveys - What do you need to know?

Posted on 6 March 2018 by Georgia Cavill

Surveys - What do you need to know?

When buying a Property there are lots of aspects to consider, however, an important point which is often overlooked is having a Survey carried out. Purchasing a Property is one of the biggest purchases of a persons life, so why would you not want to check that the Property is free from a major defect and that there are no hidden financial surprises?

Something to point out is that there is often confusion between valuations, searches and surveys. A valuation which will be carried out by a Mortgage Lender is done to assess the value of the Property and that this accords with what has been agreed to be paid for the Property. The Lender is checking that the amount being lent is acceptable in accordance with the value. A valuation is carried out for the Mortgage Lender’s purposes and does not provide a Report about the state of condition and repair of the Property. In relation to searches, your Conveyancer will usually obtain these on your behalf. The general searches obtained are Local Authority, Water and Drainage and Environmental. Although the searches provide useful information, these do not look at the actual structure and condition of the Property.

There are different types of Surveys which can be obtained. To make things a little easier, please see below a basic summary of the type of RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) Surveys available:

RICS Home Condition Report

This is usually the cheapest type of survey which you could have carried out. This Report would provide a description of the condition of the property and identifies any risks/legal issues which require attention. It also highlights any defects requiring urgent attention. This Report is designed more for newer and/or conventional properties.

RICS HomeBuyer’s Report

There are two options in relation to the HomeBuyer’s Report which are as follows:


This provides all of the information as per the Home Condition Report mentioned above but also includes advice regarding any defects, repairs or ongoing maintenance.
Survey and Valuation

This provides all of the information mentions in the above “Survey” but with the addition of market valuation and insurance rebuild costs details.

This Report is aimed at conventional properties which are in a reasonable condition.

RICS Building Survey

This Report provides an in-depth analysis of the state of repair and condition of the Property together with advice on any defects which are highlighted. This Report is usually for older Properties or those where large scale alterations are proposed.

Surveys can sometimes reveal unexpected defects which could cost thousands of pounds to repair. It is therefore recommended that you obtain a Survey and consider the different options available to you carefully. A property purchase is an extremely important transaction – it is potentially going to be your home or an extremely important investment! A Survey will give you the information you need to make an informed decision as to whether a Property is right for you. If the Survey comes back free from defect then it will at the very least provide you with peace of mind, knowing that you are purchase a Property which is sound.


Posted in: Buying & Selling Your Home