Choosing the Right Survey

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Choosing the right survey

A lender’s valuation is usually required when you are buying a home. But this is NOT a survey. It’s a limited check on the home that your mortgage lender carries out to ensure it’s worth the money they’re lending you.

There may be problems in the property that would cost a huge amount to put right – and they won’t appear in the valuation report. This is why it’s really important you have a survey. An RICS surveyor is fully qualified to carry out a survey, before you buy your home.

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is also not a survey. By law, this has to be provided by a seller (or agent) when a home is marketed for sale.

The are several types of ‘proper’ home surveys –  see the following links. The 2 main types, Building Surveys and Homebuyers, are described in detail below:-


RICS Building Survey

Choose an RICS Building Survey if you’re dealing with a large, older or run-down property, a building that is unusual or altered, or if you’re planning major works. It costs more than the other RICS reports because it gives detailed information about the structure and fabric of the property.

It includes:
• a thorough inspection and detailed report on a wider range of issues
• a description of visible defects and potential problems caused by hidden flaws
• an outline of repair options and the likely consequences of inactivity and
• advice for your legal advisers and details of serious risks and dangerous conditions.

An RICS Building Survey does NOT include a valuation, but your surveyor may be able to provide this as a separate extra service. Estimated costs of repairs may also be included as an option.

RICS Homebuyer report

This report provides concisely written, reasonably detailed information, for buyers (or sellers) of conventional houses, flats or bungalows built from standard building materials.  It includes:-

• an extensive inspection

• a list of problems that the surveyor considers may affect the value of the property (given a ‘traffic light’ rating)

• advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance

• issues that need to be investigated to prevent serious damage or dangerous conditions

• the surveyor’s professional opinion on the ‘Market Value’ of the property, if required

• an insurance reinstatement figure for the property, if required

• any legal issues that need to be addressed before completing your conveyancing and

• information on location, local environment and the recorded energy efficiency (where available).