Buying a home

House surveys

What is a home survey?

  • A home survey is an inspection of a property by an qualified surveyor, who will identify potential problems that will be useful for you to know before you commit to buying the house
  • A home survey may uncover issues with the property that could be costly to repair and could be useful in informing your decision to buy the property.

How do valuations compare to home surveys?

The type of house survey required will depend on the age and condition of the property you are looking to buy. A home survey can make you aware of defects in the property and assist with making an informed decision about how much you are willing to pay for the property. Where defects are identified, this may allow you to budget for the repair works required or negotiate with the seller on the price during the sales process.

Mortgage Valuation

To check the property is enough security for the mortgage.

What's it for?

  • Is used by the Bank to understand the value of the property for lending purposes only.

Please note: There are some scenarios where the valuer will use online data such as recent sales data and Land Registry details, as well as local knowledge to make a valuation without visiting the property.

What's not included?

  • You may not get a copy of the valuation report.
  • You will not be advised of the condition of the property including any structural problems or maintenance work that the property needs.
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Home Survey Level Two

Previously known as HomeBuyer survey

What’s it for?

  • Choose this report if you are buying or selling a conventional house, flat or bungalow built from common building materials and in a reasonable condition. 
  • It provides a descriptive account of the property’s condition and highlights significant problems and where a specialist report may be required.

What’s not included?

  • The report won’t go beyond the floorboards or behind the walls, so it will only be able to identify visible issues.
  • It won’t specify repair options or possible consequences of ignoring the issues as standard.
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Home Survey Level Three

Previously known as a Building survey

What's it for?

  • Choose this report if you’re dealing with a large, older or run-down property, a building that is unusual or altered, or if you’re planning major works.
  • The surveyor will report on every aspect of the property including its structural condition, visual defects, and any potential problems that might arise from hidden defects.
  • The report will also outline repair options and timelines, and will explain the consequences of not acting.

What’s not included?

The surveyor will not force or open up concealed areas of the building without occupier consent, or risk of injury or damage.  This includes taking up fitted floor coverings or moving heavy furniture

Please note: Whilst it is more comprehensive than a Home Buyers survey, a specialist report may still be required in certain circumstances.

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Arranging a home survey

You will need to arrange the home survey

Home surveys are completed by qualified surveyors. Most are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This means they abide by certain standards, such as having professional indemnity insurance.

  • You can search for a surveyor on the RICS website
  • Alternatively, you can contact our partners Legal & General on 0345 200 2046

Things to think about:

  • A local surveyor may be most useful as they are likely to be more familiar with the local housing market.
  • If you're buying a property that is for some reason unusual, it may be a good idea to seek a surveyor with specific experience assessing similar properties.
  • You may wish to wait for your mortgage application to be agreed before paying out for a survey.

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Other common home survey questions

Anything else we can help you with?