Buying a home is likely to be the biggest financial commitment you’ll ever make. Whilst not a legal requirement, surveys are an important part of the property-buying journey as they enable you to ensure that the house you are buying is in good shape, highlight any issues that need fixing and advise you of any potential problems that may arise in the future.

Having a survey can help to safeguard you from any hidden expensive surprises. If there are issues with the property, it may give you bargaining power to renegotiate the purchase price. Alternatively, you could insist they are fixed before you exchange on the property- whilst an extra upfront expense, a survey could potentially save you thousands in the long run.

There are various types of surveys available and you must choose the right one for your circumstances.

What Types of Surveys are there?

There are 3 types of Homebuyer surveys as outlined by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The age and condition of the property you are buying may help to determine your choice of survey but it’s always advised to ask an expert for if you’re unsure of which is most suitable.

Level 1

This is a very basic report and will only really pick up on any urgent issues and visible defects. These are only suitable for more modern properties built from conventional materials.

Level 2 (previously known as Homebuyer Report)

This is the mid-level option and is suitable for the majority of conventional properties less than 50 years old. This type of survey offers a more detailed report of the property and will assess such as damp, drainage and the building timbers. It contains information such as the cost of repairs, maintenance and any urgent defects that may affect the property’s value or need fixing before the exchange of contracts.  

Level 3 (Building or Structural Survey)

This type of survey is the most in-depth and comprehensive option. It will explore the property’s condition and structure in detail and is generally recommended for any property that is large, unusual or over 50 years old. 

My lender is doing a valuation do I still need a survey?

In short, the answer is yes. A mortgage lender’s valuation is only to show the lender that the property is worth the sale price before providing you with a mortgage offer.

How to interpret your survey report

Within a survey report, the results are split into 3 condition ratings relating to each aspect of the property.

The condition ratings are as follows:

Condition Rating 1

-No repairs are needed.

Condition Rating 2

-Defects need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be serious or urgent.

Condition Rating 3

-Defects are serious and need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.

What happens if the survey flags up something urgent?

On occasion, your survey may flag up an issue such as rot, asbestos or Japanese Knotweed which requires an additional specialist report. In the event of such findings, specialist lenders may still consider your application.  

If you are concerned about the issues arising from a survey, remember that you do not have to go ahead with the purchase. Whilst you may feel you have wasted money on the survey, you may have saved yourself thousands of rectifying problems!

If you are concerned about the implications the results from a survey may have on your mortgage, give our friendly team a call.

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