Surveys – Why are they important?

November 21st 2023

When purchasing a property there are many matters you will need to consider when undertaking your own due diligence on a property. One matter you should consider is whether to obtain a property survey. 

As Solicitors we would always advise to obtain a survey of the property to gather as much information as possible about the state and condition of the property. Whilst it is not a legal requirement, it can make the difference on the offer you decide to make on the property.  A property that requires cosmetic or maintenance works, will demand a different budget to buying a property which may have structural and/or major work issues. These are things your solicitor will not know, and your seller does not have to disclose.  So if you choose not to have a property survey, you risk buying a property which may have defects of a structural or conditional nature that you will be responsible for. 

When engaging the services of a surveyor they advise on the type of survey you should obtain depending on the type of property you are purchasing or any concerns you may have. 

3 Types of Property Surveys 

Each survey below will vary in both cost and level of detail. 

  1. Condition Report – this is a basic report, suited to buyers who are purchasing a modern property and do not intend  to structurally alter the property. 
  2. Home Buyers Report – this is a report which provides more detail on the property than just confirmation of its condition. This is suited to those buyers who require a bit more information on the property.
  3. Building Survey – this is a more extensive survey which is suited to buyers purchasing an older property or have concerns on previous building works undertaken or where they want to extend the property or make other structural alterations.

A Common Misconception 

A common misconception amongst buyers is that a mortgage valuation is the same as a property survey and therefore feel a separate survey is not required. It is important to note the valuations undertaken by the lender is a basic check of the property, either before or after a mortgage offer is issued. The purpose of the valuation is to ascertain whether the property is worth what they are lending and therefore is a worthwhile investment for the lender to proceed with. What is key here is that the valuation is for the benefit of the lender only and therefore the onus is on the buyer to undertake a survey to satisfy themselves on the condition and value of the property. 

Purchasing a property is one of life’s greatest emotional and financial commitments and you need a team by your side every step of the way. At SE-Solicitors, we help you feel protected, guiding clients through transactions with our meticulous and distinctly personal service. To receive an instant quote for our services, please click here.