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Are Homebuyer Surveys worth it

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  • 03-01-2019
Are Homebuyer Surveys worth it

Buying property is not only expensive but also daunting because there are a number of things you should do beforehand. A lot of people do not commission surveys because they only see it as an extra cost. Instead, they rely on the building society valuation report which only assess the current value of a property rather than locate any potential defects and problems; most people unknowingly end up buying houses that will need repair soon in the future.


In the UK, statistics show that only one in five buyers pays for a survey before buying a home despite all the benefits a survey offers. 

With a detailed survey report, you can estimate the value of the house, pinpoint all the problems you’ve noted to the seller and even negotiate for a lower price. Even if some of the problems may not need serious attention, having that information puts you at a better place to negotiate for a better price.

row of georgian terrace houses in London

Types of Property Surveys

The survey you choose should be determined by the condition of the property rather than the cost of the survey. A good survey can save you a lot of money in the long run because you can uncover all the problems before you buy the property and move in. However, if you invest in a bad survey, you may not discover all the problems, potentially end up spending more money as the problems become bigger with time.

close up view of house keys

1. RICS Condition Report

This survey describes the current condition of the property, highlights any urgent defects and identifies any risks and potential legal issues. This report is recommended to new buildings and conventional homes that are in good condition. 

2. RICS Homebuyer Report

This type of homebuyer survey is ideal for conventional homes which are in reasonable condition because it helps the buyer know if any structural problems are hidden both inside and outside the house. This type of survey does not look beyond the walls and floorboards.

RICS homebuyer report usually include property valuation to help you compare the prices around the area or negotiate for a better price depending on the condition of the house. However, if the report does not include a valuation, you can use the report’s suggestion for repairs to negotiate with the seller for a better price.

3. RICS Building Survey

This survey is aimed at larger, older properties or when you are planning major works because it identifies the most serious issues. Its presentation approach is very simple because it uses the 1, 2 and 3 rating system to help you understand the condition of the building. RICS building survey also includes advice sheets that explain how you should deal with the problems discovered. The advice sheet also explains the repercussions of failing to repair or fix the problems that are highlighted in the report. 

4. Building or Full Structural Survey

This is not only the most comprehensive homebuyer survey but also the most suitable survey because it is quite extensive and unveils all the problems a property might have. Since it is an extensive survey, it generally costs more, but with all the information it offers, the survey is worth every penny. The survey does not include a valuation most of the time, but the report will include all the details you need to make an informed decision. Furthermore, the surveyor can give his/her opinion on potential or any hidden defects.