Which survey do I need? - Purchasing a Property

by Andrew Wilson - Trainee Legal Executive, Residential Conveyancing Department

Once you have found your next home, whether it be a house or a flat, you should always consider carrying out a survey before you sign the contract and commit to your purchase.

No purchaser would want to move in to their property and find out too late that the roof is in need of repair, or perhaps that the windows are reaching the end of their life span, or the walls are showing signs of damp. A survey can help avoid the hassle and expense of costly repairs and if not, at least provide you with peace of mind.

You may think that this applies only to freehold houses, but it is just as important to carry out a survey on flats and other leasehold properties. Defects with the building will need to be addressed and paid for by the residents by way of a service charge so your annual or monthly costs may increase more and more beyond the already steadily increasing service charges in blocks of flats all over the country.

If you are purchasing with a mortgage the lender will often carry out a valuation report, so why should you have to worry about instructing a surveyor yourself? In reality, a valuation report is not a survey at all so try not to confuse the two. In most cases the valuer will not even visit the property.

So which survey should you consider carrying out? There are a number of options to choose from.

RICS Condition Report

This type of survey is on the lower end of the scale cost-wise and will highlight urgent defects as well as potential legal issues which, as your solicitors, we would be able to address with the seller’s solicitors.

Each element of the property is given a risk rating from 1 to 3:-

1 – No repairs are currently needed.

2 – Less serious or urgent defects are in need of repair or replacement.

3 – This rating is for defects that are serious and need to be investigated, repaired or replaced urgently.

This survey is aimed at newer homes and relatively conventional properties.

RICS Homebuyer Report

This survey report provides all of the features of a Condition Report as well as additional advice on repairs, defects that may affect the property and ongoing maintenance advice.

This report offers a market valuation as an optional extra which also includes a rebuilding cost for the purposes of insurance.

This survey is suitable for conventional properties which are in a reasonable condition.

RICS Building Survey

This is the most comprehensive report that provides an extremely detailed analysis of the property’s condition. Advice will be given on repairs, defects and maintenance options.

This Survey is essential if you are planning major works or if you are purchasing an older or larger property.


Andrew Wilson Trainee Legal Executive

 To seek legal assistance or obtain further information about the above, please contact Andrew Wilson in our Residential Conveyancing Department on 01635 580858

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