Types of property survey

There are different types of property survey. Take a look at how they differ.

Types of property survey

You need a property survey

Congratulations, you’ve found the property – now what?

You need a mortgage, and even if you have agreed in principle how much you can borrow, your mortgage lender will require a property specific survey before signing on the dotted line. This is so they can be confident that the property is worth the money they will be lending you to pay for it.

For an independent survey offering impartial advice, it is important to ensure you are employing the services of a RICS surveyor.

To find out how you can have a house survey completed on a property, take a look at our article 'How to get a House Survey'.

What kind of property survey?

There are many different types of property survey and it can be difficult to know which will be best for you. What the mortgage lender demands will usually be the minimum. Whether you decide on any other kind of survey will depend on many factors: what kind of property you are buying; what has been done (or not done) to it by previous owners; what you plan to do with it, and what kind of people you are in terms of how much information and reassurance you need.

Mortgage valuation

This is the most basic property survey and is generally required by your mortgage provider. Accordingly, the survey is organised by them, but you still pay for it. While it should confirm that the property is worth the amount of the mortgage, it will not provide any further information, e.g. whether there are signs of subsidence. Such a document may not even require a visit to the property itself.

You may well feel you’d like more reassurance than this valuation can provide and a proper property survey, rather than a simple valuation, is generally recommended.

HomeBuyer Report

Also known to house buyers as a Homebuyers Survey, this is a survey providing more information to the buyer about the condition of the property. It will provide a valuation, but will also give you an indication of any defects, such if the roof needs repair work. This information can be useful in negotiating the price with the seller.

A HomeBuyer Report is carried out by a member of the RICS, and comes in their standard format.

Building Survey

Also known as a Full Structural Survey, this is more detailed than the HomeBuyer Report and therefore more suitable in cases where further information is sought, for example where the property is particularly old or unusual, or if you are planning major renovations. It does not follow a standard format and can be tailored to address any specific concerns that you have.

Building Surveys do not automatically include a valuation, so you should check first if this is important to you.

Other property surveys

There are some other terms you may come across:

Home condition survey or report:

These are carried out by RICS surveyors or home inspectors accredited by SAVA.  They can alert you to potential problems for further investigation, and thus can supplement the mortgage lenders valuation.

New-build snagging survey:

These make sure that all the services and finishes in a new build are up to scratch.

Finding a surveyor

Once you have decided on the type of survey you want, it pays to shop around and maybe chat to surveyors to find the one that best suits your needs and your budget. reallymoving.com works with hundreds of RICS qualified surveyors, just fill in our form to get Chartered Surveyor Quotes in your area.

Compare free quotes from Chartered Surveyors in your local area here


  • adrian simmonds says...

    posted on 30/03/2015 11:41:34

    We own a cottage in Llanbadoc, Usk where we had a new roof installed 4 years ago over the kitchen extension at the back of the property. The contract carried a 20 year guarantee but a serious leak occurred about a year ago. The roofers eventually "repaired" it but when the next heavy rain- fall occurred, the roof leaked again. Over the last 6 months we have had the run-around but the contractor finally texted last week confirming "all fixed". However my nephew Roger had to apply 4 coats of emulsion so I suspect that the "repair" may not have been adequate. The property is currently empty being marketed either for letting or for sale and we want to be absolutely certain that the roof is now OK, or, if there is evidence that it is still liable to leak, we'd want a recommendation on treatment required. It's all a bit long-winded but if you know how many hours we spent chasing the roofing company, you'd understand..

  • Alan gilmour says...

    posted on 15/05/2015 17:18:02

    I'm in the process of buying a 3 bedroom terrace house and would like a survey done to ensure there will be no surprises after moving in.

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