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The Importance Of A Home Survey

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Consider this, you’re about to spend the most money you ever have by purchasing a property…

…and, potentially, committing yourself to borrowing a substantial amount of money to assist you with your purchase. Why wouldn’t you have a home survey carried out?

Here at Wilson Browne we always recommend that you have your proposed purchase property surveyed by your own surveyor. This is recommended to identify any structural or other defects likely to give rise to problems and expenditure in the future which may affect your decision to proceed with your purchase.

The general rule, when purchasing a property, is “Caveat Emptor” translated as “Buyer Beware”. It is therefore up to a buyer to carry out all prudent inspections and surveys on their purchase property. You will have no redress against your seller if you find out there are problems and defects with your property following completion which would have been identified had you carried out the appropriate survey and inspection.

There are several different types of property survey that can be undertaken:-

1. Lender Valuation. Note this is however not a real survey and is purely for the Lender’s purposes to ensure that the property is worth the amount intended to be borrowed. It may not mention defects, particularly if the borrowing is small compared to the value. Additionally it may not even involve an actual inspection of the property – some lenders valuations are now carried out by a desktop survey or drive by. You may be provided with a copy of the valuation but in any event you should not rely on it.

2. Full structural survey. This is a full survey and, if carried out by a qualified surveyor at your instruction, may be relied upon. These can prove expensive and as a result not many prospective purchasers opt for this type of survey.

3. RICS Homebuyer Survey and Valuation. This is a form of intermediate report carried out by a qualified surveyor. It is shorter than a full structural survey and usually categorises matters that require attention on a scale of 1 – 3; one being not urgent and three relating to urgent works of repair that are required.

Regardless of which survey you choose, the surveyor/valuer will not check items such as fittings and contents included in the purchase price nor will they have checked that the central heating system and electrics are in working order. It is therefore imperative that in addition to a survey you also arrange to have such items also inspected and tested. Again, should you find following completion that there are defects with such items you will have no redress with your seller.

Please note that solicitors rarely receive copies of the lender’s valuations or survey reports and therefore if there are any matters in the same which the valuer/surveyor has recommended be referred to your legal adviser do be sure to provide a copy of the report to your legal adviser so they can make appropriate further enquiries where necessary of the seller’s solicitors.

Furthermore, where your valuer/surveyor has identified works of repair and recommended quotes or further reports be obtained to ascertain the extent of any remedial works, we would always recommend that you follow the advice of your valuer/surveyor and obtain any recommended reports and estimates of costs for remedial works prior to making a commitment to proceed. This way you will be sure to know what you are letting yourself in for should you proceed in terms of the cost and the level of work required.

For further guidance on surveys and if you need assistance sourcing a surveyor please contact a member of our Residential Conveyancing Team

Russell Hurst


Russell Hurst

Senior Associate. Licenced Conveyancer

Russell is a Senior associate, the head of the Leicester Residential Conveyancing Team, a Licensed Conveyancer at our Leicester office: he supervises the  conveyancing work in that office. Russell qualified as a Licensed Conveyancer in 2012 and has over 15 years experience in conveyancing, including:…