Everything You Need to Know About Home Surveys – MortgageLadder’s Definitive Guide

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Home survey-MortgageLadder

What is a home survey?

Home surveys provides you with information on the condition of the home to help you make an informed decision on whether or not to purchase it.

The inspector will look for signs of defects, structural problems, and other issues that may affect the safety or value of the property.

After you make an offer on a new property, the next step is often to get it surveyed. It will give you more details about the condition of the building and may even tell you what needs to be fixed before you move in.

You don’t have to but it’s a good idea to get a survey done.

Home surveys types 

The Most qualified surveyors are members of The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) which is a recognised professional body.

RICS qualified surveyors are ideal for property transactions because they have professional indemnity insurance to protect you from the cost of fixing issues that come up from the survey.

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RSPA surveys

Similar to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, there is also a Residential Property Surveyors Association.

They offer 3 levels of the professional survey, all of which include:

  • The following ratings will be given to just highlight the severity of the underlying problem.
  • Photos to illustrate problems or areas of concern
  • In-depth inspection for defects like damp, rot, woodworm, or subsidence
  • Verify if there are no environmental issues just like flooding

The price of these home surveys will vary by the size and location of the properties.

Price: around £400 and can go as high as £900.

Snagging Survey 

A new-build snagging survey is a third-party inspection to look for negative issues with the property.

Before you move in, developers should fix any defects that have been highlighted.

The price starts at £300 (can vary with the size )and the report can be available the same week.

How long do home surveys take?

The time required for a homebuyers survey often varies depending on the size, age, and condition of the property.

  • Homebuyer Report (Level 2 Survey) – 90 minutes to 4 hours
  • Building Survey (Level 3 Survey) – Because timelines are often long, it can take from 8 hours to a day for the surveyor to complete a Building Survey.

Homebuyers survey checklist

When it comes to home surveys, most people would feel nervous about everything going smoothly. There’s no point getting worried until you know something is the cause of it.

The Report of a home survey usually includes

  • A visual inspection of your entire building would include all major indoor features, both permanent and temporary. These include walls, ceilings, roofs and bathrooms. Similarly, the outdoor area will also be inspected for permanent features including sidewalks and outdoor sheds or houses.
  • Background information on property and location.
  • Checking a property’s damp-proofing, insulation and drainage is a very important measure of a building’s condition. There are many factors that can lead to the deterioration of these features over time, so it’s worth installing any necessary upgrades if necessary.
  • Damp tests on walls.
  • The condition of timbers. It’s a key factor affecting the long-term viability of a building.
  • Inspections of heating, electricity, gas/oil and drainage systems are part of the checklist. Keep in mind that the inspector is not an electrician or plumber, so all they can do is check to see if installations are operational or not.
  • Estimate of cost of rebuilding for insurance purposes, known as a reinstatement value.
  • Any issues that might affect the property’s value
  • Details of potential issues in the property that need to be resolved before signing the contract; for example, signs of subsidence.
  • Urgent problems like gas leaks need to be investigated during the survey.

How do I prepare my house for a survey?

Don’t need to be nervous before carrying out your property survey. Few simple but essential things can be done to prepare your home and this will protect your belongings and make it easier for the surveyor so he can have unobstructed access to all areas of your property.

Clear away clutter

Moving furniture away from walls and taking ornaments and plants from window sills are good ideas for clearing the space so that surveyors can better access it and study it.

Tidy and clean

Tidy up your home before a surveyor calls as they’ll take that into account when determining the value of your property. Pay particular attention to the kitchen, bathrooms and all the surfaces. They’ll be checking for signs of continuous upkeep, so even if it’s the same size & features as another home, an untidy one will be purchased with a lower value.

Make all areas of the home accessible

It may be a good idea to start packing your belongings away so that viewers and Chartered Surveyors can better assess the condition of the property. It also helps as chartered surveyors will be less likely to have to disrupt your possessions when looking for common problem areas.

Repair minor defects

Minor defects may affect the value of the house so it might be a good idea to get your hands dirty before marketing it for sale. Fix any dripping taps, check showers and hot spots for mould and try to scrub it off if you see it, clean and vacuum any carpets and fill any hairline decorative cracking that could look suspect.

Home surveys: is it worth it?

Buying a house can be a tricky process with many details to consider, including whether or not you need a survey done. A survey might seem superfluous since you’ve already taken care of all the other steps involved in acquiring a mortgage. But it’s important to do your due diligence and make sure the property is clear of any defects before fully committing yourself.

At a time when you’re already spending a lot of money, a home survey can seem like just another expense, but a survey helps avoid the stress and cost of making repairs further down the line.

Home surveys give you a good idea of any issues that are likely to arise from your purchase.

According to RICS, on average £5,750 is spent by homebuyers on repairs once they move in. 

When you’re thinking about whether or not to take out a Homebuyer Survey, one question to consider is how it can help you make an informed decision. Consider the following points:

  1. Type of Property
  2. Condition of Property
  3. Age of Property
  4. Location of Property


About the Author

CMO. MortgageLadder. Using the art and science behind marketing, I strive to deliver an enhanced brand experience to our users. My background as a data scientist allows me to make data-driven marketing decisions that support business growth. I’m fond of great books, fitness and sweets!