Three types of home survey and when they should be undertaken

A property survey is an essential part of the property-buying process. If you are taking out a mortgage to buy a property, your mortgage company will instruct a valuer to provide a valuation of the property for mortgage purposes. It is not advisable to rely on this instead of your own survey; the mortgage company only wants to know whether the property is sufficiently valuable and sellable for them to be able to recover the amount owed should you default on the mortgage.

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Different types of home surveys are available. The right survey for you will depend on a number of factors including the age, value and condition of the property.

Condition report

This is the most basic survey, and as would be expected from the name, it gives buyers an overview of the property condition. It will be set out with ‘traffic light’ ratings of key elements of the property condition, highlighting any urgent defects. It is suitable for newer, conventional homes.

Homebuyer report

The Homebuyer report builds on the items reported as part of the condition report. It also includes advice on any repairs that may be necessary and ongoing maintenance. An optional market valuation and advice on insurance rebuilding costs can be included, along with advice on defects that could affect the property’s value. The homebuyer report is the most popular survey undertaken and will be suitable for most purchasers of most properties.

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Buyers should bear in mind that the initial upfront investment in the homebuyers survey cost could help them avoid buying a property that will cost them dearly in the long run. Incurring the homebuyers survey cost is something buyers should budget for at the outset. Quotes for the homebuyers survey cost will vary depending on the value of the property and its location.

RICS building survey

This survey is the most detailed and most expensive one available. It will be necessary for purchasers who are buying an older and/or more extensive property, or for those planning on extensive works. It will also be necessary if the property is in poor condition. The surveyor will be on site for longer, undertaking a detailed investigation into the condition of the property. Buyers choosing this option will receive a detailed report on maintenance, defects and repairs.

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