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Do I Need A Survey When Buying A Home?

Do I Need A Survey When Buying A Home?

If you’re looking to make an offer on a property, or have already had an offer accepted, then you might be wondering if you need a survey – well, we’re here to tell you that in almost every situation the answer (should be) is yes! 


A property, house or building survey provides buyers with a holistic and detailed evaluation of a property’s condition – from structural elements all the way through to the types of materials used. It will also make buyers aware if there are any major repairs or alterations that need doing, or are likely to need doing in the future. 


Do I Really Need A Survey?

You don’t always need a survey on a house you are buying, however, as mentioned above, a survey can help you avoid costly, unwanted surprises, like structural issues or even help you identify if the house is vulnerable to external factors such as flooding. A lot of people opt for a survey as buying a home is a big investment and can be nice to have peace of mind that a crack isn’t going to bring your new house tumbling down. 


Given the amount you are willing to invest in a property, do you not think a few hundred pounds is a worthwhile investment to have an expert surveyor tell you you’re making a good investment!


For example, a survey might inform you that the property you are viewing actually has severe issues with its roofing – let’s say for the sake of the article that these repairs cost £5000. You’d be well within your right to ask for this amount to be deducted from your final offer or to ask the seller to fix the problems before the deal is finalised. 


You wouldn’t rent a property if you viewed it and saw major issues, you’d instead report these to the landlord and request them to be fixed before your tenancy begins. Well, when buying a house, your tenancy could be for the next 30 years – so you need to make sure that everything is as described. 


We would always recommend you request a survey if: 

  • You are nervous about a purchase or have specific worries about a property
  • The deal seems too good to be true 
  • You are unsure about the condition of a property
  • You are looking to buy a vacant, old or listed building 
  • The property has a thatched roof or character features
  • The property is vulnerable to external environmental factors e.g. flooding.


Who Arranges A Survey?

Most property buyers choose to arrange a house or building survey after their offer has been accepted – in most cases, it is the buyer who arranges and pays for the survey to take place. Even if you’re stretching your finances to buy your dream home, we would always recommend you have a survey done – a little extra expenditure now could save you a small fortune in the future or even deter you from buying a specific property altogether (in extreme circumstances). You can think of your survey as insurance against any potential problems that may arise. 


David Dalby of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said: “In difficult economic times, it pays to be prepared. Nobody wants to be left with a home that needs extensive repairs or that they can’t sell on. By carrying out a survey, you’ll be armed with information that puts you in a stronger position to decide whether to proceed with the purchase or negotiate a better deal.”


What Different Types of Survey Are Available? 

The three most popular types of survey available for homebuyers include: 


Condition Report

A Condition Report is a basic type of survey that provides homeowners or potential buyers with a surface level look at a property’s condition. This type of survey doesn’t go into intricate details like the other surveys available, however, it will still highlight any significant issues that are present with a property. 


For example, if you’re looking to buy a new build property that looks to be in good condition, you might consider getting a Condition Report to confirm that everything is ok. 


The results of these types of reports will normally identify serious defects that need to be actioned immediately or anything that compromises the safety of a property.

Homebuyer Report

A homebuyer report is one of the more popular types of survey. It covers everything that would be included in a Condition Report, however, it also identifies any defects or faults that might affect the property in the long run, this includes problems such as dampness. A homebuyer report also highlights anything that isn’t in line with building regulations and can include advice on repairs and maintenance.


Unlike a more in-depth survey, such as a Building Survey, the homebuyer report won’t look behind furniture or dig into the nitty-gritty of a property – as such, you should only expect this to identify visible, surface-level issues. 


A Homebuyer Report also includes information about a property’s value, including how much your surveyor thinks it is worth on the market, as well as the costs required to repair or maintain the property! 


Building Survey

A Building Survey, also known as a Measured Building Survey or Structural Survey is an in-depth inspection into the condition of a property, including tailored advice on any issues that are present. It is the most thorough type of survey available and provides an all-encompassing analysis of a property’s structure and condition.


These surveys include everything you would get in both a Condition or Homeowner Report, however, for this type of survey your surveyor will also be hands-on – this means moving furniture, looking under floorboards, checking the attic and ensuring that every part of the property is up to standard.


This survey is a great option for anyone looking to buy an old or slightly rundown property, or for anyone looking to do significant work.  


If required, you can also ask the surveyor to include projected costs and timings for issues raised in the report. 


What To Do If Issues Are Flagged In Your Survey

If you do choose to get a survey done, do not worry about potential problems! Even if minor issues do arise, you can often use these to negotiate a reduced price assuming you still want to go ahead with the purchase! 

If issues do arise, your surveyor should be able to provide you with more information about the specific issue, whether it is major or minor, as well as the best approach to take. This could mean calling in a builder, hiring a specialist or might just be something you want to speak to the seller about. 

According to Quick Move, more than one in four house sales fell through at the end of 2015 as buyers received bad news from their survey and changed their minds. As we always say, information is key when it comes to buying a property! Do your homework now so you don’t have to deal with unforeseen issues in the future! 


Target Surveys

Enjoyed reading this post? We enjoyed writing it and hope you found it useful! 


If you want to read more, you can find all of our latest blogs here, as well as access all of our surveying services such as our Measured Building Surveys, Topographical Surveys, Utility Surveys, BIM / Revit Models, 3D Scanning & point cloud, Setting Out, Drone Surveys, Boundary Disputes or Ecology Surveys! 


Interested in the work we do here at Target Surveys or looking for a Building Survey? Reach out today at or on 01926 313419. A member of our team would be happy to talk with you to discuss your individual requirements and needs. You can also reach out to us on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn


We look forward to hearing from you! 

Team Target