Buying your own house is a huge milestone and could be the most expensive purchase of your life. You’d probably prefer to not add the cost of a property survey to your bill, but if you decide to skip this step, you’ll never know if there are any defects with your new home. At least not until it’s too late.

Until you find yourself paying for costly repairs that could have been easily avoided, you’ll probably ask yourself if property surveys are really that important but they are.  Not only can they be used to establish an approximate cost of any defects discovered, they can also confirm the value of the property and ensure the price you pay is reasonable.

Whilst having a property survey is important, it’s also equally important to understand the domestic surveys available to you and know which suit your requirements. The type of survey you will want to implement differs with every property and depends on how much detail is needed, as well as the age of the property.

Lender Valuation

The primary function of this is to provide the Lender with a valuation which may or may not mention any defects. You may be provided with a copy of this, but it should not be relied upon as a real survey as it is purely for valuation purposes and you will have no recourse for any errors with the Surveyor.

RICS Homebuyer Survey and Valuation

This survey is also carried out by a qualified surveyor, but is not as thorough as a full structural survey. Instead, this survey focuses on ‘urgent matters’ which may be a threat to the fabric of the building and then focuses on ‘significant matters’ that may devalue the house. The surveyor may not typically report on less urgent matters.

Whilst it is imperative to get a survey done before an exchange of contracts takes place, as it’s highly unlikely you can claim for any defects discovered afterwards, there are a few things to consider. For example, if the Lender is outsourcing their valuation, the very same surveyors may agree to give you a separate report at a cheaper cost due to the amount of duplication.

If you’re buying a new house, then you are usually covered by the National House Builders Council (NHBC), which covers major structural items for 10 years and faulty workmanship for 2 years. However, a property survey should still be considered.

Full Structural Survey

A full survey that may be relied upon if carried out by a qualified surveyor. Whilst the cost of these surveys can be expensive, it will be thorough and the surveyor will be responsible to you. The full survey will let you know of any defect to the property that may devalue it, meaning you may even get room to haggle the price.

Solicitors & Surveys

A further reason to have a survey is because your Solicitor will not have inspected the property and will proceed on the assumption that you accept the physical condition of the property, unless notified otherwise.

It is therefore imperative that you satisfy yourself, prior to exchange, that all fixtures and fittings, appliances, central heating system and electrics are in working order. This includes carrying out your own inspection and surveys / testing, as there may be no recourse against the seller if you find at a later date these are not working satisfactorily. 

To discuss surveys, please get in touch on 01625 523988 or