Why it’s important to
have a survey

Having a survey carried out on a property before you commit to buying it makes good sense. It can save you thousands of pounds in repair bills and a lot of stress in the future. There are various options available, and your advisor will be able to offer help and advice on choosing the type that meets your needs.

It’s important to note that a mortgage valuation isn’t the same as a structural survey. A mortgage valuation is undertaken by your lender to assess whether or not the property is sufficient security for the loan. Whilst it will give you a rough idea as to whether the asking price is fair, it won’t tell you about the state of the property or show up any underlying faults.

To be fully informed about the condition of the property, you need to engage a qualified surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Surveys can throw up defects that could be costly to put right, especially in older properties.

Main types of surveys available:



RICS Condition report

This is the most basic form of survey, and is suitable for new-build and conventional homes in good condition.

RICS Homebuyer Report

The next level up, this will identify structural problems such as subsidence or damp and other common faults.

RICS Building Survey

This is the most comprehensive survey. This will provide a full inspection and give professional advice on any repairs that may be required and the likely costs involved.

A survey provides reassurance and can also help you decide whether or not to proceed with the purchase. If the surveyor reports problems that need to be remedied, you could still decide to proceed, using the survey findings to renegotiate the purchase price.


In Scotland, sellers are required to have a Home Report available for would-be purchasers. This must be carried out by a RICS-qualified surveyor. New-build, converted homes, or properties purchased under Right to Buy don’t have to have a Home Report. However, purchasers should still consider having a survey carried out.

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