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Why is a house survey important if you’ve already had a property valuation?

A property valuation comes as part and parcel of applying for a mortgage. However, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to worry about getting a house survey for your property. After all, a property valuation is not designed to benefit you as the buyer.

Put simply, a valuation is to put the mortgage lender’s mind at ease. It enables them to make sure their investment is safe and secure before they approve your mortgage. On the other hand, a house survey is designed to help you uncover any hidden problems with your property that may harm you later down the line.

Types of house surveys

1. Snagging survey

Cost: From £250

Ideal for: New build properties

If you’re buying a new build home, then you should think about arranging a professional snagging report. It may seem pretty pricey, but it can save you a lot of time and hassle when you’re busy moving in. A snagging report is a type of house survey that can spot minor issues with your newly-built home, so your developer can fix them. Arranging a snagging report is easy and you can get a quote online. The price you pay will depend on the size of your property.

2. Condition report

Cost: From £300

Ideal for: New properties or homes less than 5 years old

If you’re looking for a house survey that’s budget friendly, then a condition report may be the right choice for you. The cost of this type of house survey starts from £300, depending on a number of factors, such as the size of your property.

As it’s the cheapest option, a condition report is also the most basic. Like many other house surveys, it uses a traffic light system to highlight any obvious problems or defects that will need to be addressed in the future. Green usually means everything is ok, orange indicates that there is some cause for concern, and red will mean there’s something seriously wrong with your property and that repairs are vital. However, it doesn’t offer you advice nor does it provide recommendations when it comes to repairs.

There are more thorough house survey types out there, which is why a condition report is only recommended for new build or fairly new homes. It’s not recommended for you if your property is quite old, has been unusually constructed or has any major known defects.

3. Homebuyer report

Cost: From £350

Ideal for: Conventional, fairly modern homes

According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), a homebuyer report is the most popular type of house survey. If you’re looking to go down this route, you have two options:

  • Survey only – pay anything from £350 for a homebuyer report, which will tell you of any obvious major problems with your new home. The surveyor will be non-intrusive; they won’t look behind furniture or beneath floorboards, which means their report can be limited.

  • Survey and valuation – all of the above, plus a valuation for £450 or more. This option also provides you with something called an insurance reinstatement value, which refers to the cost of completely rebuilding your home following a disaster, such as a fire.

4. Home condition survey

Cost: From £450

Ideal for: All property types

This type of house survey is offered by the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA), as opposed to the RICS. As a home condition survey includes a full inspection and a comprehensive report, it’s suitable for all house types, not just new builds or homes that are in good shape.

Much like other types of house surveys, the cost associated with a home condition survey will depend on the size of your property. Once arranged, it will be conducted by a specialist in residential surveys to allow you to understand more about your new home.

The report will be consumer-friendly, with practical information on broadband speed, damp assessment, and boundary issues. You’ll then have the opportunity to ask the surveyor any questions you may have after the home condition survey has been completed.

5. Building survey

Cost: From £500

Ideal for: Any property

Building surveys are more expensive, costing up to £2,000, but can be a worthwhile investment. As they are extensive surveys, you’ll receive a detailed report at the end. Unlike other types of house surveys, the surveyor will be intrusive, checking behind walls, between floors, above ceilings, and in your attic.

You’ll also receive advice on repairs, including timings and costs, as well as predictions of what could and potentially will happen if you don’t carry out the recommended repairs. However, unless you’ve been told otherwise, a building survey probably won’t include an insurance reinstatement value estimate or a market valuation.

Remember to get the most out of your house survey

Whatever option you go for, make sure your money has been spent wisely. There are a few things you could do to prepare for your home survey.

  • Raise any concerns you have about your property straight away to make sure your surveyor is aware from the start.
  • Take some time off work to follow your surveyor as they make their way through your house. Make sure they check and look at everything.
  • Ask any questions you need to. It’s your house, so you’re entitled to know everything about it.

A house survey may seem like another expense when buying a new home, however, the cost is relatively small compared to the potential costs of having to repair something that could’ve been pointed out in a survey. If you’re still not sure which type of house survey you need for the type of property you’re buying, then we’d recommend that you speak to a Chartered Surveyor, who will be able to offer some independent advice. After all, your surveyor can’t go ahead with a survey that doesn’t match your property’s needs or requirements.