Why do I need a survey?

You have found your dream property and are keen to make an offer...it is important before you do this however that you have a survey done on the property to identify any issues or damage that you may not have noticed. 

You should instruct a qualified surveyor to carry this out for you, as we are not in the position to provide building and structural advice or guidance.  Should your inspection of the property reveal major problems affecting the value we would recommend that you obtain quotes for the works specified.  Your estate agent will usually be very happy to help you with this and to arrange access for your workmen to prepare quotes; they may even be able to recommend specialists.

It may be possible for you to negotiate the price, which can be done up to exchange of contracts, or request that the seller to carry out remedial work before you proceed.  For example, if your survey finds that you will need to undertake repairs costing £10,000 you could ask for a £10,000 reduction in price, or alternatively ask the seller to make the necessary repairs before you exchange contracts.

Types of surveys for my house or flat

Most surveyors provide three types of survey;

Rics condition report

This is the most basic ‘proper’ survey you can get, giving an overview of the property’s condition and highlighting significant issues, but it does not go into detail.  It uses a traffic light rating for the condition of different parts of the property.  If you are buying a relatively new property, with no previous issues, and are simply looking for reassurance, then this survey would be suitable.

Rics HomeBuyer's report

This is more detailed than a condition report and highlights particular problems, such as damp and subsidence.  It includes advice on necessary repairs and ongoing maintenance and points out anything that doesn’t meet current building regulations. 

The inspection is non-intrusive, meaning the surveyor will not look behind furniture or under floorboards, so they will only be able to identify ‘surface-level’ problems. 

It generally includes a market valuation and rebuild cost, taking around two to four hours to complete.

This is the most popular type of survey and the standard choice for most properties that are in a reasonable condition.  If you’re buying an unusual or period property, or one that requires significant renovation, we would recommend you upgrade to a building survey.

Rics building survey

The most thorough survey you can get, this survey provides a comprehensive analysis of the structure and condition of the property, listing defects and advice on repairs and maintenance in full. 

The surveyor will be ‘hands on’ and will do things such as check the attic and look under floorboards.  You can ask for the report to include projected costs and timings for any repair work and depending on the size of the property it may take a day to complete. 

This survey is a good option if you are buying a property that's over 50 years old or in a poor condition.  It is also worthwhile if you’re planning to do significant work or have major concerns about the property.  This particular survey is usually only undertaken on houses, not flats.

While the HomeBuyer’s report tends to be the most popular, there are no particular rules about the type of survey you should get.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) provides a basic template for each of these surveys, and most surveyors who are registered with Rics will adapt the templates to fit their own style.

Surveyors registered with the Surveyors and Valuers Accreditation (SAVA) scheme offer an alternative; the Home Condition Survey.  This survey is similar to the Rics HomeBuyer's report, albeit without a valuation.   This survey also includes photographs to make it easier to understand and highlights issues to follow up on before purchase.  It flags up any legal problems that we should check as your conveyancer.   

Other types of surveys and valuations

There are additional surveys and valuations you can have for your purchase:

Mortgage valuation

This is carried out on your mortgage lender’s behalf, not your own, even though you may be required to pay for it and are usually requested by your lender before they make a formal mortgage offer.  This survey will confirm to the lender whether the property you wish to buy is approximately worth the amount you are looking to pay for it, so they can decide whether to lend you the amount you’re asking for. 

Although it’s often referred to as a valuation ‘survey’, it will not tell you anything about the condition of the property.  

New-build snagging survey

This survey identifies defects with a new-build home covering everything from small cosmetic issues to structural problems. The report can be given to your developer before you move into the property so you can get any issues sorted as quickly as possible under your two-year developer warranty.  We would recommend paying for this survey if you are buying a new-build home.

How much will my survey cost?

The cost of your survey will vary significantly depending on the location, size and type of property.  Different surveyors will also charge varying amounts, so make sure you obtain a few quotes before choosing who to use.  

Mortgage valuation costs tend to vary the most, with some lenders even including them for free.

If you have any questions about the correct survey for your property, or would like a quote on using our services to buy your property, you can contact us on the details below.

You can discuss your next move with our teams by contacting us on the phone numbers below, or to find out more about our fees you can use our estimate calculator.

Fareham: 01329 288121
Southampton: 023 8063 9311
Portsmouth:  023 9275 3575
Chandler’s Ford: 023 8071 7467
Waterlooville: 023 9277 6569



To speak to one of our experts please call us

Absolutely first-class service from start to finish.