Why have a survey?

When you buy a new home, you want to be sure it will not surprise you with unexpected problems and costs. Having a survey beforehand will allow you to make a reasoned and informed decision on whether or not to go ahead with the purchase, and if you do, how to proceed forward with any issues discovered.

Both the Consumers’ Association and The Council of Mortgage lenders stress the importance of commissioning a survey before you buy a property.

If you are buying a property with a mortgage, you should understand that the mortgage valuation is NOT a survey. The primary aim of your lender is to ensure that the property you propose to buy will provide adequate security for the loan you need to borrow to purchase it. A survey will include a much more thorough inspection of the property and provide more information about its condition, focusing particularly on the overall condition of the structure and fittings, which can have a heavy impact on the long term costs of owning it. Depending on the type of survey, other aspects that may affect the property, such as legal issues and saleability, may also be highlighted.

Which one should you have?

PCCS offers three types of survey offering different levels of investigation and advice. It is important that you understand the different options available so that you get the right service to meet your needs. The links below give a description of each survey to help you decide which is the most appropriate for your purposes.

Click on the icons for more informative descriptions of each survey, and on the right-hand side of this page you will find the RICS guide ‘Home Surveys Information Sheet’ which includes a comparative table showing the features of each survey.

This is a helpful guide to surveys produced by the RICS:

RICS Home Surveys Information Sheet

RICS Home Surveys Information Sheet

or watch the RICS video ‘Choosing the right survey’:

Level One Survey:

RICS Condition Report

Shows the condition of the property, offers guidance to legal advisors and highlights any urgent defects. This is the lowest priced of the surveys and is aimed at conventional properties and newer homes.

Level Two Survey:

RICS HomeBuyer Report

Includes all the features of the RICS Condition Report plus a more extensive inspection and advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance. It is available as a survey only or with a market valuation and reinstatement cost assessment (insurance rebuild cost).

Level Three Survey:

Building Survey

The Building Survey is the most comprehensive report that provides an in-depth analysis of the property’s condition and includes advice on defects, repairs and maintenance options. It is more appropriate, or even essential, for larger or older properties, particularly where in a rundown condition, or those of unusual construction, or if you’re planning major works.