Different types of house survey

When you buy a new home it’s worthwhile considering whether to have a house survey done and there are different types of house survey available.

The type of survey you choose depends on how much detail you want to get and your budget.

The three main types of house survey are:

        • Mortgage valuation / Condition report
        • Homebuyers report
        • A building or structural survey

Types of house survey

Mortgage valuation / Condition Report (£300 or more)

The cheapest and most basic survey available is a mortgage valuation.  These often cost £300 or more, though many lenders offer to pay this cost when you remortgage.

The report isn’t overly detailed:

        • It provides a report in the form of ‘traffic light’ indications. Green means everything is ok, orange means that there is some cause for concern, and red means serious repairs are vital.
        • The report also gives a summary of any defects or potential risks with the property.

If the valuation comes back and the property is valued below your offer price, you may want:

        • Go back to the seller or the estate agent, and offer a lower price based on the lender’s valuation
        • Dispute the valuation by providing evidence, if possible, of similar properties in the area selling for the same price or higher

HomeBuyers Report (survey and valuation – £450 or more)

If you want a more detailed survey then you should consider a HomeBuyers Report.  According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), this is the most popular option.

        • A HomeBuyers Report will reveal any obvious major problems such as subsidence or obvious rot, etc.
        • It is considered a non-intrusive survey: the surveyor will not look lift up floorboards or look behind furniture, so any report drawn up is limited.
        • A HomeBuyers Report that has a survey and valuation includes the above features, plus a valuation and an insurance reinstatement value (which is an indication of how much you would receive if the building were to burn down).

Building Survey (£500 or more)

A building survey is more expensive, but can be a worth paying for:

        • A building survey can cost anywhere from under £500 to over £2000 depending on the size of the property.
        • A detailed report is given at the end of an extended survey.
        • The surveyor will check behind walls, look between floors and above ceilings and also get into the attic.
        • The survey includes advice on repairs, as well as providing an estimate of costs and timings.  It will also tell you what will happen if you do not carry out the repairs.
        • It is unlikely to include an insurance reinstatement value estimate or a market valuation, unless specified.

Survey costs by type of survey

Mortgage Valuation / Condition Report £300 and upwards
HomeBuyer Report (Survey and Valuation) £450 and upwards
Building Survey £500 and upwards

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