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Property on the Market - When Should I Get a Survey?

  1. Helen from Lincolnshire
  2. Buying a house questions and answers


I have had an offer accepted on a listed property, however they are keeping the property on the market until I have accepted an offer my property. At what point should I get a survey carried out and would my mortgage provider arrange this for me? I am looking at a Building Survey and Valuation due to it being Grade II listed.


This is always a tricky one, like what comes first the chicken or the egg? Try to put yourself in the shoes of the vendor. At present you are saying you want to buy their property, but cannot do so yet until you own property has at least had an offer on it. What happens if one never comes or one comes at a price significantly below your expectations and/or otherwise affects the amount you can afford to spend? The vendor is protecting their position and some may say rightly so. At present you are not in a position to make firm offer.  

Often vendors/estate agents will accept that you have instructed legals and surveyors as showing signs of your commitment, i.e. you are expending time and money on the purchase. Without that commitment it is fairly common for the vendor not to remove the property from the market.

To help speed up the sale of your property you could commission a Home Condition Report. This may help speed up the process as you would be able to know whether there are serious defects affecting the property you are trying to sell (something that may crop up on your buyer’s survey) and you can take necessary action in advance to repair or otherwise mitigate the risks. Ultimately though, until you have sold your property you may find that the Vendor (and indeed the estate agent advising them) are not willing to take your offer seriously enough to withdraw their property from the market.

Regarding when and who to commission for your survey, check out the price differential between ‘big corporate’ and independent, in particular when VAT is factored in. Also bear in mind that surveyors working for large corporates usually have targets, i.e. a particular number of surveys per day to complete and as such you may not have as much time to discuss the report (both before and after the inspection) as you’d like. Furthermore large corporates may not provide Building Surveys, the more appropiate survey for a listed building, choosing sometimes to concentrate or more lucrative work (such as volume homebuyer and/or valuation work).

You should, by the sound of it, commission an RICS Building Survey Report (Level 3) as it’s a listed building and therefore likely not suitable for an RICS Homebuyer Report (Level 2). You can find a sample report at http://castle-surveyors.co.uk/cs/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Sample-RICS-building-survey-Dec-2012.pdf

Best of luck with your purchase.

reallymoving comment:

For more information about listed builings and the considerations you should have when buying a listed property, take a look at our guide to buying a listed building.

Wayne Norcliffe

Wayne Norcliffe

Castle Surveyors

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