What type of house survey do I need?

When you purchase a house, it is very important to get a detailed survey of the property to ensure that you are happy with its overall condition and to identify any potential structural issues before you purchase it.

What’s the difference between a basic valuation and a structural survey?

A basic valuation is a brief inspection that is made by your mortgage lender when you apply for a mortgage. This inspection is purely for the lender and is undertaken so that it can be established whether the property is worth the amount you intend to borrow. If the property has any defects, these will be highlighted in the valuation, but they will not go into much detail and will not be of benefit to a potential homeowner (mainly because the report is often unseen by the buyer of the property). Many lenders charge fees for their basic valuation.

RICS Homebuyer’s Report

A Homebuyer’s Report is a general survey for properties that are considered to be in a reasonable condition. The report highlights any structural problems with the property such as subsidence or damp, and also checks the roof, but doesn’t go into extreme detail such as looking beneath floors and behind walls.

Some potential buyers use a Homebuyer’s Report to negotiate the asking price of a property if structural problems are found that will cost money to repair. For instance, if it is going to cost you £10,000 to fix problems with subsidence, you can try and negotiate this amount off of the full asking price. Advice and precautions are detailed in the report by the surveyor.

Homebuyer’s Reports are a good option for homes built within the last 80 years and that measure up to 2,000 square feet (185 square metres).

Building survey (Full Structural Survey)

This is the most highly detailed type of survey and is designed to give a very close inspection of larger, older and more unique properties. It can cost up to £1,300 because the person inspecting the property will have to re-visit multiple times to check every aspect of the house. The survey will indicate damage and structural issues with the property, and will also check beneath floorboards and behind walls. It will advise on remedial work necessary to correct any issues. Depending on the level of structural damage, the surveyor may suggest that you obtain additional specialist damage reports on the property (this can sometimes be the case with very old, period properties).

Snagging survey (for new-build homes)

A snagging survey on a new-build home checks whether there are any issues with the property that the developers need to fix before you move in. This type of survey typically costs from £300, and increases depending on the size of the property.

How do I find a surveyor?

Check out the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) or Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) websites for more information on finding a reputable surveyor. You can also ask your estate agent or your solicitor, but bear in mind that they may receive a commission which could raise the overall cost of the survey.

For more information on surveys, the house-buying process, mortgage deals or advice on remortgaging your home, talk to us today at iam mortgages. Our advice is completely free and our mortgage experts are waiting to help you. Fill an an enquiry form and we will get back to you.