House surveys or property surveys are formal assessments of a property that help buyers identify any potential issues with it. Surveys are undertaken by trained surveyors on behalf of buyers after an offer has been accepted. The result of a house survey is a report that highlights the findings after the inspection has taken place.

Do I need a survey when buying a house?

You don’t have to have a survey if you want to buy a house. They offer valuable insight that could save you money, so it is worth getting one, even for a new property. Properties are expensive enough without having a nasty surprise like needing to rewire the kitchen or renovate the bathroom.

Benefits of a house survey

  • Peace of mind
  • Opportunity to negotiate price
  • Have repairs made before you move in
  • Get a clearer picture of what you’re buying

In addition to offering you peace of mind, getting a house surveyed can give you leverage when you’re negotiating price. If a survey reveals a problem with a property, you can use that to your advantage and get a better price for the property.

Alternatively, you can make your offer conditional on the owner repairing a fault before they move out. Either way, getting a survey on a property gives you a clear picture of what you’re spending a great deal of money on.

Despite the benefits,

1 in 5 homebuyers
only get a mortgage valuation report

House surveys or property surveys are formal assessments of a property that help buyers identify any potential issues with it. Surveys are undertaken by trained surveyors on behalf of buyers after an offer has been accepted. The result of a house survey is a report that highlights the findings after the inspection has taken place.

Do I need a survey when buying a house?

You don’t have to have a survey if you want to buy a house. They offer valuable insight that could save you money, so it is worth getting one, even for a new property. Properties are expensive enough without having a nasty surprise like needing to rewire the kitchen or renovate the bathroom.

Benefits of a house survey

  • Peace of mind
  • Opportunity to negotiate price
  • Have repairs made before you move in How to get the most out of your property survey Housing surveys are all about giving you the most information possible to allow you to make the right decisions. When you engage your surveyor, there are a few things you can do to get the most out of your survey.
    • Make a list of any concerns you have about the property and pass them to your surveyor when you instruct them.
    • Walk through the house with them. An extra pair of eyes is always helpful, but don’t get under their feet.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask questions as you go around the property.
    • Get the best survey possible. It’s worth the money!
    Types of surveys when buying a house There are a variety of surveys available to homebuyers that meet different needs. From a basic condition report to an in-depth full structural survey, the more information you have about a property, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Other types of housing survey look beyond the property itself. An example of this is the mortgage valuation. This survey helps satisfy your lender that you’re buying a property that’s worth the price you (or rather, they) are paying.
  • Get a clearer picture of what you’re buying

In addition to offering you peace of mind, getting a house surveyed can give you leverage when you’re negotiating price. If a survey reveals a problem with a property, you can use that to your advantage and get a better price for the property.

Alternatively, you can make your offer conditional on the owner repairing a fault before they move out. Either way, getting a survey on a property gives you a clear picture of what you’re spending a great deal of money on.

Type of Survey Average Cost
RICS Condition Report £250
RICS HomeBuyer Report £400
RICS Building Survey £450
Structural Survey £1,000
New-Build Snagging Report £300
Mortgage Valuation £150-£1,500












The
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is a professional body that
accredits professionals within the land, property and construction sectors.
When you get a property survey, make sure it is a RICS accredited survey



RICS Condition Report

An RICS Condition Report is the most basic level report. This visual inspection of the property describes its general condition and highlights any clear visual defects. It provides no advice or valuation for the property from the surveyor, it simply presents the observations.

As the lowest level survey, a Condition Report only costs around £250 and is best suited to New Build properties that are unlikely to have structural wear and tear.

RICS HomeBuyer Report

While not the most detailed report, a HomeBuyer Report is a valuable survey if you’re looking to knock a little off the asking price of a property. If the property is in a reasonable condition, this type of survey is often sufficient for the average buyer.

Unlike a Condition Report, a HomeBuyer Report goes deeper. This survey can reveal hidden defects, such as subsidence or damp, as well as any other unwelcome hidden issues inside and outside.

The results of this house survey give advice on any defects that may affect the value of the property, along with recommendations for repairs and ongoing maintenance. From this report you can reasonably figure out how much repairs will cost and negotiate the price of the property accordingly.

If you’re going to have to do £10,000 work on fixing the roof, you can reasonably ask for £10,000 off the asking price.

With costs starting at around £400 for this survey, you can potentially make great savings and get further peace of mind with a HomeBuyer Report.

RICS Building Survey

If you’re thinking about buying an old or very large property, an RICS Building Survey will give you an in-depth analysis of the property’s condition. Presented in a simple “1,2,3” rating system, this detailed building survey is highlights a range of potential problems, along with advice on repairs and maintenance.

The typical cost for this housing survey is around £400-£500. While more expensive than other surveys, this report can identify expensive future problems, such as subsidence and dry rot.

Building or full structural survey

A Building or full structural survey is a comprehensive report providing a full breakdown of the fabric and condition of the property. In this report, the surveyor will diagnose defects, along with repairs and maintenance advice.

This level of survey is likely to set you back £1,000. This may sound steep compared to other types of survey, but it can be well worth paying if it identifies issues which could cost thousands to put right.

Unlike the Homebuyer Report, a full building survey will typically not include a valuation of the property, so you should bear that in mind.

New-build snagging survey

A New-build snagging survey is a catch-all inspection that makes sure the developers have not made any errors in the build and provides an independent inspection of the property. Depending on the size of the property, this inspection costs around £300 and rarely reveals any issues. The benefit of a new build is that everything is in perfect condition.

Common snagging surveys cover a range of aspects, including:

  • ​​Plaster and paintwork
  • Radiators
  • Doors, staircases etc
  • Carbon Monoxide safety test
  • Electrical sockets & plumbing
  • Heating system inspections
  • Lofts
  • Roof and guttering
  • Garage and groundwork
  • Soil quality
  • Fire safety measures

Mortgage valuation survey

Mortgage valuations are not inspections in the same way RICS surveys are. They won’t highlight any defects or issues, so you can’t rely on a mortgage valuation alone to determine the state of the property you want to buy.

The cost of a mortgage survey is based on the value and size of the property. As such, the price can range from £150 to £1,500.

Sometimes lenders offer mortgages with free valuation surveys. Once the valuation has been done, it can take as little as seven days to get a mortgage offer from your lender.

Who organises a survey when buying a house?

You must organise your property surveys. Your conveyancer or solicitor will be happy to advise and even recommend their trusted surveyors, but the responsibility to organise a surveyor is yours. After all, it is optional and for your benefit.

Lenders usually require mortgage valuations for your property. As such, they will sometimes commission a mortgage valuation for you.