Types of homebuyer survey
Choose a survey based on the condition of the property itself, not the cost of the survey.
Money spent on a decent survey can save you a fortune in the future.
RICS Condition Report
A Condition Report is a very basic ‘traffic light’ survey and the cheapest, costing around £250.
It’s most suitable for new-build and conventional homes in good condition; no advice or valuation is provided in this survey.
RICS HomeBuyer Report
A HomeBuyer Report is a survey suitable for conventional properties in reasonable condition. Costs start at £400 on average.
This will help you find out if there are any structural problems, such as subsidence or damp, as well as any other unwelcome hidden issues inside and outside.
But the HomeBuyer Report doesn’t look beyond the floorboards or behind the walls.
Some home-buyers’ reports include a property valuation, so you might be able to revise your offer if the survey reveals a lower price than the mortgage lender’s valuation.
If there’s no valuation included, you could use the report’s suggestions for repairs to renegotiate the price.
For example, if it’s going to cost you £5,000 to carry out work on the property’s damp walls, it’s reasonable to offer £5,000 less than the asking price.
Home Condition Survey
The Home Condition Survey provides the same level of in-depth inspection as a building survey.
It uses a simple a clear presentation style and a 1, 2, 3 rating system to ensure that you can easily identify the most serious issues.
Included with the Home Condition Survey you should find some advice sheets on how to deal with some of the more common problems that have been found at the property.
The typical cost is around £400-£500.
Building or full structural survey
This is the most comprehensive survey and is suitable for all residential properties.
It’s particularly good for older homes or homes that might need repairs.
This type of survey typically costs upwards of £600 and provides detailed advice on repairs.
It’s very extensive and in some circumstances worth the extra money but it does not usually include a valuation.
Although this survey can’t look under floorboards or behind walls it should include the surveyor’s opinion on the potential for hidden defects in this area.
The surveyor should also provide information on potential repair options.
Again, you could try to save money by comparing the details of the repairs required against the lender’s valuation.
New-build snagging survey
A New-build snagging survey is an independent inspection to look for any issues with the property.
Costs typically start from £300 depending on the size of the property.
Developers should fix faults highlighted before you move in.
Learn about Avoiding costly mistakes when buying a new home.
Mortgage valuation survey
The sole aim of the mortgage valuation is to satisfy the lender that your desired property is worth the price you’re paying – or at least the amount it’s lending, before they approve your mortgage.
A valuation is just that – it won’t point out repairs or structural problems that you will have to pay to fix.
Generally, you will pay for the lender’s survey. The cost is based on the value and size of the property and is typically £150 to £1,500.
Sometimes lenders offer mortgages with free valuation surveys.
If the property is valued below your offer price, you can either:
Go back to the seller or the estate agent, and offer a lower price based on the lender’s valuation
Dispute the valuation by providing evidence, if possible, of similar properties in the area selling for the same price or higher