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What are the differences between the different types of surveys and which one do I need?

The purchase of a property is likely to be the biggest financial commitment you make and therefore, having as much information about that property is advisable.  A Mortgage Valuation is not a survey and often only involves a cursory look at the property in order to ascertain if its value is worth the loan the mortgage company is being asked to lend. 

A survey is a detailed inspection of the property’s condition. It is carried out by an independent surveyor who will be able to tell you if there are any structural problems, such as subsidence, major repairs needed, information about the state of electrics, plumbing and if there is damp.  The level of detail this goes into depends on the type of survey you have done and the price varies accordingly.

Types of survey:

Condition Report

This is the most basic survey you can get and is designed to complement the mortgage valuation. This uses a traffic light system and doesn’t give you any advice or a valuation.


HomeBuyers Report

This is a more detailed survey and the most popular type. It will tell you of obvious major problems such as rot, damp and subsidence. It includes a valuation and insurance reinstatement value. This survey is non-intrusive, however, so won’t spot problems the eye can’t see, such as rotten floor joists.


Building Survey

This is the most expensive but also the most thorough and robust. The surveyor will look into the attic, take up floorboards and drill walls. The survey will also include advice on repairs, provide estimated timings and costs and tell you what will happen if you do not carry out the repairs.

To find out more about survey options and to direct you to a local RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) Surveyor visit the website