House Surveys: What They Look For

You’ve got a mortgage, fallen in love with a house, made an offer and had it accepted. That’s it, right? Wrong. Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make in your life and it’s essential that you know exactly what you’re buying—by carrying out a survey.

We look into the details of house surveys: what they look for and why they are so important.

A survey is a detailed inspection of a property where every aspect of the building is carefully assessed. They look for what—if any—maintenance and repair issues there are, giving you a clear idea of whether the price you’re paying for the house is a fair one and whether you can budget for fixing any problems that are flagged up.

If there are issues with the home you’d like to buy, house surveys can be a powerful tool for driving down the buying price with your seller or asking them to fix the problem prior to purchase. It also gives you the opportunity to back out of the sale if you feel the problems are too extensive or expensive to fix. There are several different types of house surveys available, all of which range considerably in price depending on the property and surveyor you select—ensure you shop around and get different quotes before choosing. Costs will roughly range from £350 to £1,300 depending on the value of the house or type of survey.

See also: Letting a Property

The most extensive and thorough house surveys available is the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Building Survey. It provides a comprehensive report that covers the structural integrity of the property. What it looks for is the amount of repairs, maintenance issues and defects that may be present. The surveyor will go beyond surface checks and look in places like under floorboards and in the attic—they will also be able to provide advice and information on projected costs and timings for repairs. It’s particularly suitable for large or period homes, if you plan on altering the property or if the building is in need of repairs.

The RICS Condition Report is best suited for relatively new builds and those in good shape, and will outline the condition of the property and flag up any major issues but won’t go into detail. The RICS Home Buyers Report is more detailed and will assess structural problems and issues such as damp, and will point out anything that may need ongoing maintenance or doesn’t meet building regulations. It’s a surface-level inspection and won’t investigate under floorboards or behind walls. It also offers a market valuation and rebuild costs. Similar to this is the SAVA Home Condition Survey—it doesn’t come with a market valuation but will flag up any issues you need to pursue before purchase as well as any legal problems to be addressed during conveyancing.

Finally those looking to buy a new house may want to consider a New Build Snagging Survey, which assess issues specifically in new homes—from cosmetic to structural.


A mortgage lender’s valuation is not the same as a house survey—it’s carried out on the lender’s behalf and won’t tell you anything about the condition of the property. It only confirms whether the property is worth the amount you want to pay for it. If you have enjoyed reading this article on house surveys: what they look for, click here to read more on Celebrity Angels about our top tips on house hunting.

If you have enjoyed reading this article on house surveys: what they look for, click here to read more on Celebrity Angels about our top tips on house hunting.

See also: Property Auctions

You might also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and get
• FREE Competitions
• FREE Digital Magazines
• HOME and FAMILY News
And much more…

You have Successfully Subscribed!