As you shop for your dream home, the new lender will likely require a valuation to ensure they’re comfortable providing you with a mortgage. Furthermore, conducting an in-depth survey on the property can help provide peace of mind before making such a significant commitment.

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To make the right decision, it’s essential to understand the different types of house surveys available. From basic surveys to more detailed ones, there are various options for assessing the condition of your home and helping you make informed decisions.

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of house surveys and what they entail:

1. Basic Valuation (Level 1)

This document is not a survey but an appraisal prepared after a brief property examination – only to inform the mortgage lender. It is performed by a RICS Valuation Surveyor appointed and provided by your chosen bank or building society to establish whether you are eligible for the loan amount requested. Significant issues will be mentioned in this valuation report; however, it should not replace or substitute any detailed surveys that may need to be conducted.

Many lenders impose valuation fees based on the assessed worth of a property. The assessment report is general and relieves any obligation to accommodate issues with the premises. You have no right to contest against an inspector for regions that were not spotted, nor will you be able to view a duplicate of their evaluation.

2. Homebuyer’s Report or Survey and Valuation (Level 2)

A Homebuyer’s Report is designed to provide you, the potential buyer, with insight into the property’s condition and whether it is a suitable purchase for its price. This report is more expensive and detailed than your fundamental valuation.

Certified by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), this inspection and evaluation cover all available portions of the property; however is more limited than a Building Survey. The result will be shorter and easier to understand; it outlines primary flaws while including an upper region analysis wherever possible but does not expressly list any corrective actions that should occur.

If any specific advice is needed, it will be included in the Homebuyer’s Report. Furthermore, if a further investigation needs to occur, our report will indicate so and offer you limited remedies should there be negligence from the surveyor acting on your behalf rather than that of the lender. This type of report is well-suited for homes built with conventional construction methods within 80 years, up to 2,000 square feet/185 square metres in size.

3. Building Survey (Level 3)

This survey called a complete structural survey, is the most in-depth property assessment. It is especially recommended for those who own older properties (pre-1900), large homes or unusual buildings – and unfortunately, it comes with the highest price tag. However, if you want an extensive analysis of your abode’s condition, this survey should not be overlooked!

Compiling a survey of this nature can take multiple hours and is far more thorough than the Level 2 Report. The results may even include suggestions for necessary repairs or renovations. Also, if any issues are discovered with the property already present at the time of inspection – like woodworm infestation or rising damp – you would have legal recourse against the Surveyor who conducted it.

If any issues are identified during a survey, an inspector might recommend you get further specialist reports. Mortgage lenders usually partner with pre-approved surveyors and typically ask the one they select to perform the fundamental valuation needed. But suppose you want a more comprehensive Homebuyer’s Report. In that case, many loan providers permit their customers to request it through them – or else you can appoint your professional for such an in-depth inspection.

Although a comprehensive survey may be an expensive investment during other payments, it can save you from having to incur significant repair costs after purchasing the property. By surveying and understanding potential issues beforehand, you prevent costly surprises.

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Frequently Asked Questions

A house survey is an expert inspection of a property’s condition, which identifies problems to a prospective buyer. It’s completed by a surveyor who visits the property, carries out an inspection and prepares a report on what they’ve found. ¹

There are three levels of house survey you can get for a potential home: Home Survey Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. ³

The RICS Home Survey Level 1 is the most basic – and cheapest – survey. It is suitable if you’re buying a conventional property built from common building materials and in reasonable condition. It was previously called a Condition Report. ²

The cost of a house survey varies depending on the type of survey you choose and the size of your property. A RICS Home Survey Level 1 costs around £250-£400, while a RICS Home Survey Level 3 can cost up to £2,000 or more. ¹

A Level 2 Home Survey (also known as a HomeBuyer Report) is suitable for properties that are in reasonable condition but may have some defects or require repairs or maintenance in the future. The report will highlight any significant defects or issues that may affect the value of the property or require further investigation. ²

The time it takes to complete a house survey depends on the type of survey you choose and the size and condition of your property. A RICS Home Survey Level 1 usually takes around 2-4 hours to complete, while a RICS Home Survey Level 3 can take several days or more. ¹

Yes, it’s still important to have a survey carried out on a new build property as it can help identify any defects or issues that may affect its value or require repairs in the future. ³

Surveyors use moisture meters to check for damp in walls and floors, as well as visual inspections and other tests where necessary. ²

Yes, windows are usually included in a house survey as they can be an important part of the property’s structure and can affect its energy efficiency and security. ²

Yes, if it’s safe to do so, the surveyor will usually inspect the loft space as part of the house survey to check for any defects or issues that may affect its value or require repairs in the future.

(1) House surveys – the different types and costs – Which? https://www.which.co.uk/money/mortgages-and-property/first-time-buyers/buying-a-home/house-surveys-aZOET4F4Fudj

(2) House Survey Types And Costs – HomeOwners Alliance. https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-buying/what-sort-of-survey-should-i-have

(3) House Surveys – MoneySuperMarket. https://www.moneysupermarket.com/mortgages/home-buyer-surveys

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