How to know which survey to have when buying a house

Knowing which survey to have as part of the house purchase process depends on how much you want to spend, and how much you want to know about the house before you commit to buying.

Types of survey

Most surveyors offer three kinds of surveys:

  • A condition report
  • HomeBuyer report
  • Building survey

All differ in terms of price and the information they cover.

Home surveys are essential in highlighting any problems that need to be fixed and could help you negotiate a better price if repairs are going to be costly.

We’ve outlined each of type of survey, to help you easily identify which one is most appropriate for your property purchase.

Condition report

A condition report is the cheapest of the three and can range from around £100 to £250, depending on factors such as the property’s size.

This kind of report is designed for newer properties and may use the traffic light model to identify urgent issues that need fixing (red is more urgent, green is less urgent).

Although a condition report can help to determine the property’s condition, it won’t go into full detail, and limited information will be given on repairs or maintenance.

It is not an in-depth report so there is a risk that issues could be missed, leading to costly problems later down the line.

HomeBuyer’s report

The HomeBuyer’s report is slightly more expensive than the condition report. It’s the most popular kind of survey and offers a more thorough guide to the property’s condition.

Like the condition report, it uses the traffic light system to identify issues (or a similar 3, 2, 1 grading system) but goes into greater detail.

For example, it might mention issues such as damp, woodworm, insulation etc. It will also offer information around repair and maintenance.

A HomeBuyer’s report may be suitable for properties built in the last 100 years.

Building survey

Also known as a structural survey, this is the most comprehensive type of survey. It is often recommended for larger properties or period homes that may be more likely to need significant work.

If you have any concern that the property you’re looking to buy is showing signs of structural damage, a building survey can provide added peace of mind by highlighting underlying issues.

You might expect to pay around the £1,000 for a survey of this kind. While this may sound pricey, it can save you money in the long run, helping you to tackle issues or even renegotiate the price.

Is a valuation report the same as the house survey?

A house survey should not be confused with the valuation report from your mortgage lender.

A valuation checks the value of the property, whether it’s suitable for a mortgage, and that the lending amount and the house’s true worth match up. It does not cover the property’s condition and won’t identify any problems.

While a building survey will cost the most, it can help you to reduce the price and can act as a useful deciding factor in whether you want to go ahead with the property purchase.

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Note: First4Lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances and not rely on First4Lawyers’ online information alone.

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