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  • Writer's pictureRobert Taylor

Do I need to have the house I am buying surveyed?

Quality Conveyancing Scheme
Quality Conveyancing Scheme

Buying a house is likely to be the biggest investment you will ever make. You are strongly advised to have the property surveyed to avoid inheriting major problems and potentially thousands of pounds of expenditure in effecting remedial works to the property.

Buyers need to be aware that in law there is no obligation on a seller to point out defects in their property. Defects may be purely cosmetic or potentially structural. 

It is very much “Let the Buyer beware” when it comes to the state and condition of the property to be purchased.

It is for this reason that Rands Solicitors always ask our clients to always seriously consider undertaking some form of survey before exchanging contracts to purchase the property.

What types of Survey are there?

Mortgage lenders valuation

If like most buyers you are buying with the aid of a mortgage then the mortgage lender will insist upon a mortgage valuation. In short this is purely for the benefit of the lender so it can satisfy itself that the property will give them adequate security for the monies they are to lend.

This valuation does not involve any detailed inspection of the property and is unlikely to specify any specific defects or problems. What can sometime happen however is that if there is an obvious potential problem the lenders valuer could well insist that the buyer obtain a more detailed report (structural or otherwise) before the lender will make a decision whether to lend or not.

Full Structural Survey and House Report

Full building surveys are far more expensive but can be a sound investment. As you might expect, the survey will be extensive and the report far more detailed. They can be invaluable if the property is older, listed, more unusual, timber-framed or thatched. However, you should also consider a Building Survey if you are considering major building works.

Their report will include advice on repairs, including costs and timings, and what will happen if recommendations are ignored.

Homebuyer Report

These are the most common type of house survey. A HomeBuyers Report can be looked as a “middle ground” report. It is more detailed, highlighting any obvious major problems, forexample subsidence or dry rot. The report will also include a valuation and an insurance reinstatement value, which is the amount the surveyor estimates you would receive if the building was destroyed.

While a Homebuyers Report is more thorough and helpful than a mortgage valuation, it’s important to understand that it will be based mainly on a surface assessment. In other words, the surveyor will not lift floorboards or check behind the wall. They may not even move furniture.


Hopefully the above notes will help highlight the importance of considering the need to have a survey undertaken before committing yourself to proceed with your intended property purchase.

It is unlikely that you will have any comeback against a seller if defects are only found after the purchase is completed.

Rands Solicitors

Conveyancing Department

 Contact our experts for further information

Robert Taylor:      Telephone 01724 786272

Megan Taylor:    Telephone 01724 786272

Danielle Johnson: Telephone 01724 786272


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