Why have a survey?

A house or flat will probably be the most expensive purchase of your life and, therefore, you need to know as much as possible about its structural integrity and condition before you make such a major commitment. A survey report will assist you in making an informed decision about whether to proceed with the purchase. If costly repairs are identified, you may be able to negotiate a reduction of the agreed price or decide to look for another property. The videos below may help to explain in more detail...

Choosing between Surveys
The importance of getting a home survey

What types of Surveys are available?


A Building Survey (formerly known as a ‘Structural Survey’) is a comprehensive inspection suitable for all property types, particularly:

  • Buildings constructed before 1925
  • Properties you are planning to alter or extend
  • Properties which have been previously altered or extended
  • Larger properties
  • Listed buildings

A Building Survey provides technical information on the construction of a property with a description of techniques and materials used in its construction. The report will detail the nature and extent of the defects identified, discuss appropriate remedial works and provide a prognosis of the possible consequences of allowing the defect to continue.

Walls are tested for dampness with an electronic moisture meter and accessible timber is inspected for signs of insect infestation and rot. We comment on the existence and condition of damp proofing, thermal and sound insulation and drainage. A visual inspection is carried out of the services installations, and recommendations for any further inspection or testing of these will be made if necessary.

A typical Victorian 3 bedroom semi-detached house would take approximately three to four hours to inspect, and larger properties considerably longer.

If you wish to extend or alter the property you are buying, let us know what your proposals are before we carry out the survey and we can offer general advice on the property's suitability together with any special considerations that may need to be taken into account.

We send you two bound copies of the report; one for you to keep and the other to pass on to your legal advisors so that they can action certain recommendations made in the report e.g the existence of valid guarantees, positions of boundaries etc.

Unless specifically requested prior to carrying out the survey, no Market Valuation or Insurance Reinstatement Assessment is usually included in the Building Survey. However, just let us know if you require this prior to booking. Please contact us if you require a copy of our Conditions of Engagement which fully outline the extent and scope of the inspection.

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The Homebuyers Report is a concise report in a standard format devised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The extent of the inspection and report is less comprehensive than a Building Survey, and whilst all main elements of the building are inspected both internally and externally, the surveyor is only required to report on matters which he or she considers to be urgent or significant i.e. matters which could materially affect your decision to buy the property. The surveyor is not required to report on minor defects. The Homebuyer Service and Valuation Report is primarily designed for relatively modern properties, which appear to be in reasonable condition. The Homebuyers Report also provides a Market Valuation and Insurance Reinstatement Assessment.

Please contact us if you require a copy of the RICS Homebuyer Service Standard Terms of Engagement.


This is simply an opinion of the Market Value of the property at the date of inspection and may be required for various different purposes. The most common example is a mortgage valuation. Your mortgage company will arrange for a valuation to be carried out, normally at your expense.

The purpose of this is simply to advise the Bank or Building Society if the property is worth the price that you have agreed to pay in order to secure their lending against it. Its purpose is not to provide you with any detailed information about the condition of the property, although further reports on structural defects, dampness or general repairs may be called for by the valuer before release of mortgage funds is recommended.

We can also undertake valuations for probate or matrimonial proceedings, and are also on the panels of several of the leading mortgage lenders.

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