What type of survey do I need?

Our guide will help you decide what type of survey you require.

What type of survey do I need?

Why is a survey important?

Your home is likely to be the biggest, most important purchase you will ever make, so it is worth paying for a survey to check the building is sound.

The advice of a Chartered Surveyor could save you a huge amount of money in expensive repairs later on. There are several types of survey, so understanding the differences between them will help you to pick the right survey to suit your needs.

To get the best price for your house survey you can compare instant quotes from RICS Chartered Surveyors.

You can find out how to get a house survey here.

Types of survey

reallymoving.com recommends two types of survey

HomeBuyer Report

  • This replaced the Homebuyer Survey and Valuation (HSV) in March 2010 and it is often still referred to as a Homebuyers Survey.
  • Suitable for conventional properties in reasonable condition, and built within the last 150 years.
  • Written in a standard format set out by the RICS
  • Gives an opinion about energy efficiency using an easy-to-read traffic light system.
  • Rates the condition of all permanent structures included in the property, e.g. garages etc.
  • Highlights important problems that could affect the property’s value
  • Includes a valuation.
  • It is worth remembering that if you employ the surveyor directly, you will own the details of the survey and you can negotiate accordingly. 
  • Independent surveyors are also extremely happy to discuss the results of their surveys and you will find post-sales communication easy

Building Survey

  • Also known as a Full Structural Survey - provides a detailed report on the property’s construction and condition.
  • Goes into further detail than the HomeBuyer Report and can be adapted to suit your requirements.
  • There is no standard format; each surveyor has their own way of presenting their report.
  • Can be applied to any age of property but is particularly helpful for dilapidated properties and those that have been extensively altered. 
  • Useful if you plan to renovate or convert the property.
  • Includes advice for future maintenance
  • Does not include a valuation unless you specifically request one from the surveyor.

Receive free instant quotes from Chartered Surveyors

Mortgage or Lender’s valuation survey

You pay for this, but it is organised by your mortgage lender. They send a valuation specialist to value the property to determine whether it is worth the amount you have negotiated, and whether the mortgage lender should give a mortgage on it. These can vary from ‘drive by’ valuations to a more in-depth inspection of the property.

You should note that the valuer is only concerned with problems that might affect the protection of the mortgage lender’s loan. The Mortgage Valuation is not obliged to reveal any structural problems to you. The lender simply needs to know that they can recoup their loan, if need be.

There may be problems with the property but they will not appear in the valuation report, so we strongly urge all our users to commission an independent survey that you own and can discuss further with your surveyor.

RICS Condition Report

In the spring of 2011, the RICS introduced a new type of survey called the RICS Condition Report. This is a cheaper version of the HomeBuyer Report which does not include a valuation. The RICS Condition Report is intended to supplement the information provided with a mortgage valuation survey. 

This survey can be carried out by RICS Valuers as well as those who are not part of the RICS Valuer Registration Scheme.

Compare survey types using our handy table

Still need convincing? Read more - Why should I have a home survey?

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  • Graham Cook says...

    posted on 13/11/2012 18:25:50

    Does a home survey include electrical wiring etc. Hi Graham, we have answered your question here: http://www.reallymoving.com/property-professors/surveying/does-a-home-survey-include-electrical-wiring Hope this helps!