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What is a property survey?

Moving home and found a property you wish to buy? If you are looking to buy a new home or add a property to your investment portfolio, you’ll probably need (or want) a property survey. The property survey is one of the most important stages in the house-buying process. A property survey establishes the current condition of your chosen property. It can also highlight any issue that could cost you in the long term. A property survey might also include a valuation, but this is not always the case. 

As potential issues are not always obvious, at Simple Fast Mortgage, we highly recommend that you obtain a property survey. This will allow you to protect your interests and you’ll have all the information you need before you buy. Under some circumstances, it could also put you in a position where you can negotiate a better purchase price with the vendor. For instance, if expensive repairs are needed. 

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What is involved in a property survey?

A property survey is an inspection of your property, by an expert surveyor, for any issues related to the condition of the property. This could be anything from a minor defect in the property which requires some simple remediation works such as a small area of damp, to more significant issues such as major cracks indicating structural movement. The surveyor will report on the property’s condition and make recommendations for any repairs that they think necessary. 

Surveys aren’t a legal requirement, but we highly recommend you have one done as it could highlight any significant issues. In addition, if the property needs work you may be able to negotiate a reduced price with the vendor to cover the cost of repairs. A survey costing a few hundred pounds can uncover hidden issues saving you thousands more in the long run.  

Who conducts the property survey?

Property surveys are usually carried out by a professional surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). By using a professional surveyor you can ensure that they have the highest level of expertise. Chartered surveyors are regulated offering you as the buyer, more protection. 


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Different types of property surveys explained

There are three main types of property survey, Condition Surveys, Homebuyers Reports and Building Surveys:

Basic Survey / Condition Survey (Basic / Level 1 Survey)

The RICS Condition survey, is a basic survey that provides an overview of the property’s condition. It will comment on any significant structural or legal issues but won’t go into much depth. It’s usually carried out on properties under 5 years old which are unlikely to have developed any significant issues. This report often confirms the value of the property as well. The reality is that this isn’t much different to the standard valuation a lender will carry out to check they are prepared to lend money. This means very few people instruct this type of survey as it is of very limited value to the buyer.

RICS Homebuyers Report (Level 2 Survey) 

The Homebuyers survey is more detailed than a condition survey but is less thorough than a building survey. This makes it a ‘middle-ground’ survey, suitable for most property types which is why it’s a popular choice for buyers. A surveyor will often include a valuation figure on the homebuyers report and will note any issues affecting the property value. The surveyor also reports on issues on potential issues relating to the condition such as damp or structural movement. They’ll also comment if the property does not adhere to building regulations or does not have the appropriate planning permissions in place so that your solicitors can check this out at conveyancing.  

Homebuyers surveys are generally non-intrusive as they are for properties which are not expected to have any major issues. Your surveyor won’t be moving furniture or lifting up floorboards or carrying out any other major exploration work.  If the prospective property is an old one or you suspect specific issues, a homebuyers survey might not pick up on all the issues and you should consider getting a building survey instead. 

Building Survey / Full Structural Report (Level 3 Survey)

The building survey is the most intensive survey option available and is therefore the most expensive. Building surveys don’t always include a property valuation, although you can usually request one for a small additional fee. The surveyor will inspect the property structure and condition, checking for defects and any issues that require repair. This type of survey is more intrusive as the surveyor will check all parts of the property including chimneys, attics, cellars, walls and under floorboards. We recommend this type of survey for much older properties, those needing renovation, or where you suspect there are significant issues requiring repairs. Whilst the report is more expensive, you’ll discover the full extent of any issues and the repair costs. If alerted to major costs, a little money spent on a survey could save you a lot of money in the long run.  


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How much does a property survey cost?

Property surveys increase in price depending on the value of the property and the type of survey selected. To find out how much a survey for your property will cost get a personalised quote online. It takes minutes and you only have to answer a few questions. 

Why choose Simple Fast Mortgage to secure a reliable property survey?

Simple Fast Mortgage works with a panel of quality local surveyors who are all members of RICS. Our surveyors have local knowledge and are experts in their field. As members of RICS, our surveyors are chartered so you can trust them to provide you with reliable information. Once you are fully informed by the surveyors you can make the best decisions for your property and situation. With over 20 years of experience, if you’re not sure which survey to go for, we can also help. The team at Simple Fast Mortgage also work with other local trade specialists so if your surveyor suggests you obtain specialist reports (damp, electric, roofing etc.) we can help you arrange these.  


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