Do I need a Survey?

Do I need to get a survey?

There is generally no legal requirement to have a survey performed on the house you are buying. If you are in any doubt the solicitor acting for you on your purchase will be able to give you definitive advice on what you need.

However, a survey can help you avoid expensive and unwanted surprises, like an unexpected rewiring job, as well as giving you peace of mind by telling you that those hairline cracks don’t mean the house is falling down. Given the hundreds of thousands of pounds it costs to buy a property, a few hundred pounds on a survey to have the reassurance of an independent, expert surveyor looking over it feels like a good investment. With the information from the survey you might reconsider whether to buy the property or use the unbiased information you have to renegotiate the price. If you find for example it needs £15,000 of roof repairs, it is reasonable to ask for £15,000 off the price. Alternatively, you might ask the seller to fix the problems before you buy.

We may recommend a survey if:
You have any specific worries about any part of the property.
You feel unsure about what sort of condition the property is in.
You are looking to buy an old or unusual property.
The property has a thatched roof or is timber framed.
The building is listed.

What sort of survey should I get?

There are a number of different types of survey. What you choose depends on the depth of survey you want and your budget.

Survey Level 1 - Condition Report - £300 or more

A Condition Report is the most basic survey you can get, and the cheapest.  Costs are £300 or more.The report doesn’t go into much detail so may leave you wanting more:It is designed to complement the mortgage valuationIt provides ‘traffic light’ indications as to the state of various parts of the property. Green means everything is ok, orange is some cause for concern, and red means serious repairs are vitalIt also provides you with a summary of the property’s defects and possible risks affecting the homeIt does not include any advice nor a valuation

Survey Level 2 - Without Valuation - £350 or more

A Homebuyers Report, also called a Homebuyers survey is a more detailed survey and the most popular option according to RICS. There are two options in this category – you can choose to have a homebuyers survey with or without a valuation. These should tell you any obvious major problems – obvious rot, subsidence, etc.  However the surveyor is non-intrusive: they will not look behind furniture, nor lift up floor boards or drill any holes, so any report they draw up is limited.

Survey Level 2 - With Valuation - £450 or more

The HomeBuyers Report (Homebuyers survey) with valuation includes the detailed survey described above, plus a valuation and an insurance reinstatement value (how much you would receive were the building to burn down).

Home Condition Survey - £400 to £900

Offered by the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) rather than RICS, Home Condition Surveys are:
Conducted by specialists in residential surveys and produced in a consistent, consumer friendly format.
Include practical information such as broadband speed, damp assessment and boundary issues for the conveyancer to consider.
Reports are independently checked to ensure consistency and quality.
Home Condition Surveys cost between £400-£900 depending on value of property.

Survey Level 3 - Building Survey - £500 or more

Building surveys (by RICS surveyors) also called full structural surveys are more expensive, but can be a worthwhile investment:
The price of a building survey ranges from under £500 to about £2000 depending on the size of the home.
Building surveys or full structural surveys are extensive surveys and you will be given a detailed report at the end.
The surveyor will get into the attic, check behind walls, and look between floors and above ceilings.
It includes advice on repairs, and provides estimated timings and costs, and will tell you what will happen if you do not do the repairs.
Unless specified, it probably will not include an insurance reinstatement value estimate, or a market valuation.
The materials and information above and on this website have been prepared or assembled by Mortgage One and are intended for informational purposes only. Mortgage One expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on information contained on or missing from this website.
It is the Borrowers sole responsibility to research and engage Surveyors based on their own requirements.