The importance of having a survey


8 March 2018

By Bakshi Dhanda

When you think you have found the perfect new home, it is strongly recommended to have a property survey to make sure you know exactly what you are getting into.

A survey can give you a clear picture of the condition of the property as well as identifying any issues that could cost you a lot of money to put right. This means you shouldn’t be hit with any nasty surprises after the sale has gone through and can give you the opportunity to renegotiate the sale price to take account of any money you will need to spend to fix any major problems.

There are several different types of property survey, offering different levels of scrutiny, with more comprehensive surveys being more expensive. Which type of survey you need will need will normally depend on the age and type of property and how much risk you are willing to take.

Do you need a survey?

Although it is advisable that people get a survey done on the property they are about to buy, it is not mandatory – so this can leave some people wondering whether it is a worthy investment. Although initially it could cost you, in the long run it could also help you save money.


As the survey acts as a “health check” for your property it can expose any problems with the property that might require you to spend money to fix. This could either lead to the current owner of the property fixing the problems, or the price of the property might be renegotiated to take account of any money you will need to spend.

Getting a survey can be particularly useful if you are looking at buying an old or listed property, as it will allow you to see any issues with the building.

If you are getting a new-build building, a survey may not be necessary. Although you can get a snagging survey which is done to check new properties for defects or poor workmanship.

Types of surveys

The types of surveys you can get include Condition Reports, HomeBuyers Reports, Home Condition Surveys and Building Surveys.

Condition surveys

Condition reports are the most basic type of survey you can get. They are designed to complement the mortgage valuation provides you with a summary of risks for the building.

HomeBuyers Report

This type of survey will tell you of any major problems, such as rotting. It also includes a valuation and an insurance reinstatement value, which is how much money you would receive if the property were to burn down in the event of a fire. A potential downside to this type of survey could be that they do not do any intrusive checks of the property, e.g. will not look behind any furniture or pull up any floor boards, so the check could miss some hidden issues.

Home Condition Survey

Specialists in residential surveys conduct this. It gives practical information such as broadband speed and damp assessments. These types of surveys are independently checked to ensure consistency.

Building Survey

Building surveys are the most comprehensive type of survey and the most expensive. However, that expense is often worth it as they can lessen the potential for extra costs further down the line. These types of surveys are very thorough, including lifting floorboards, checking behind walls etc. and will lead to a detailed report on all issues relating to the property.

Costs of a Survey

Costs of having a survey done will vary depending on factors such as the size of the building, the location and the type of building it is. Also obviously it will depend on the type of survey you are having carried out. Different surveyors will also offer different quotes.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

If you are considering buying a property and would like a full breakdown of all known legal costs please contact our New Business Team on 01245 343940 or email