Home Buyers Surveys

  • RICS HomeBuyer Reports and Building Surveys
  • Next-day bookings usually available
  • 2,070 clients trusted us with their move in March 2014
  • Local independent surveyors

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All surveys carried out in accordance with RICS HomeBuyer Report & Building Survey service descriptions.

RICS HomeBuyer Report

Not sure which survey to choose?

Click to view our easy survey comparison table.

Sample Building Survey

See RICS Survey

HomeBuyer Report Example or
Building Survey Example.

Local RICS Surveyors

Expert knowledge

Whether you are planning to buy a large property suffering from clay soil subsidence problems, or a share of freehold apartment, Fridaysmove's highly experienced house surveyors can assist with your move.

Next day bookings usually available

Once we have secured access, which our booking team arrange with the homeowner, your surveyor is normally able to carry out a comprehensive house survey within 2 to 3 days.

Local RICS surveyors

Local experience is a key part of surveyors' understanding of the context that influences the overall condition of a property. Our network of house surveyors have experience throughout the UK, resulting in a more thorough HomeBuyer Report for home buyers.

Low cost property surveys

With the cost of moving constantly increasing, Fridaysmove aim to keep house surveys affordable, without compromising on quality or detail.

Updated: 17/04/14 by

Is the Mortgage Valuation Survey actually a survey?

A common misconception is that the 'Mortgage Valuation Survey' is sufficiently detailed to inform Home Buyers about the structural integrity of their prospective purchase.

The Mortgage Valuation Survey is actually commissioned by the lender (albeit paid for by the buyer!) to ascertain whether the property is adequate security for the loan. It is, by no means, a substantive report and should not be relied upon by a buyer for the purposes of being satisfied as to the structural soundness of the property*.

Which type of Survey should you choose?

Your choice of survey will depend on a number of criteria and the information contained in RICS Survey will depend on the type of survey you choose to go for. In either case, the surveyor will identify all significant defects or factors that will materially affect the value of your new home.  These can then be addressed before completing the negotiations on the agreed purchase price and before exchanging contracts.

In either case, the Surveyor’s main objective in providing the report is to assist the prospective home buyer to make a reasoned and informed judgement on whether or not to proceed with the purchase, assess whether or not the property is a reasonable purchase at the agreed price and enables the home buyer to be clear what decisions and actions should be taken before contracts are exchanged. (For detailed information see: Survey Comparison Table.)

Property Valuation Report

A Property Valuation Report is similar to the Mortgage Valuation. Typically this report is chosen by cash purchasers, but this Property Survey is useful for anyone seeking a formal property valuation,e.g. during a matrimonial dispute, or probate.

HomeBuyer Report

For properties of standard construction (brick and tile) which are less than 100 years old and which have not been substantially altered - a RICS HomeBuyer Report is generally advised.  This format was introduced relatively recently in reponse to criticism that Surveys were overly complicated and difficult to read.  As a result, the HomeBuyer Report is set out in concise terms and uses an intuitive traffic light system to indicate the condition of the property.  This survey is relatively inexpensive, is by far the mast common choice of home buyers and also includes a valuation.

Building Survey (previously called a Full Structural Survey)

For older properties which have been extended, altered etc., a structural or full Building Survey is advised.   The Building Survey is the most comprehensive type of report.  The service is a tailor made report covering all the visible parts, including the roof voids of the property.  

  • The report provides detailed information and advice in an individual format.  The Building Survey follows the trail of any faults and finding out why they have happened.  Providing advice on how the problems can be rectified, and in which order the work should be carried out. This is particularly useful when you are receiving quotes for the remedial work and will greatly help you re-negotiate the purchase price of your new home. The report is unlike a HomeBuyers Report, which is a set format with the surveyor answering listed questions.(Note the Building Survey is also sometimes referred to as a ’structural survey’ or a ‘full survey’.)
  • You will receive a detailed analysis of the causes of problems and the repairs needed.  There will be the surveyor’s assessment of the construction and condition of the property, giving technical advice on the remedial works.
  • You will get advice on any future maintenance that the property will need.  This will help you assess the real cost of the purchase over a set period of time allowing for any work to be carried out.  This makes your purchase more transparent and allows you to proceed with your eyes open.
  • The scope of the inspection will vary depending upon the property itself and particularly if the property is furnished.  The surveyor is not allowed to move items of furniture or to take up fitted carpets, but if it is possible he will pull up corners of carpet where possible to inspect the floor below.  If a room is heavily cluttered the surveyor can only give a judgement on what is there.
  • This style of report is suitable for all types of properties however if required for a flat, the surveyor will endeavor to inspect all external and internal common parts that can be safely and legally  accessed in addition to the flat.

Getting a Survey done - the best timing:

Property Surveys should be carried out early in the legal process.  Some buyers prefer to get a cheap survey prior to making an offer.  Tip:  Getting a Building Survey post offer could enable you to negotiate a price reduction once the legal work is underway.  Either way, the survey should be carried out before exchange of contracts, i.e. once you have legally committed yourself to the purchase.  

Unfortunately, the seller might pull out at any stage before exchange of contracts so you do run the risk of paying for a survey which you may not need, but you have little choice but to carry out a survey prior to exchange.

What does a Property Survey reveal?

The Home Survey Report will reveal defects within the property wherever possible and will comment on matters such as the condition of the walls, flooring, windows and roof and whether the property has been altered.

It will also comment on whether there is asbestos in the property or damp and rot. Once the report has been obtained it should be passed to your Solicitor who will then review it. It is important to write to the seller’s Solicitor early on to tell them of any defects so matters can rectified and remedied as quickly as possible. For example, the electrics at the property may need to be tested by a qualified electrician, dampness may need to be dealt with or roof tiles may need to be replaced.

Dealing with problems in the Home Buyers Survey

Any agreements to deal with problems highlighted in the Building Survey must be recorded in writing so the parties are fully aware of what has and has not been agreed. Often, buyers will approach the estate agent to discuss these matters and negotiate through them.  This may be suitable for the purposes of commencing negotiations, but it always better to deal with such matters through your solicitor.

The buyer’s Solicitor should obtain written confirmation from the seller’s Solicitor that any works to the property or any inspections (for damp, electrical wiring, asbestos, etc.) will be carried out before completion and evidence of the works or the relevant test certificates should be supplied before completion. Some solicitors insist on special conditions in the contract to cover these matters.  If works are to be carried out then the buyer may be able to negotiate a reduction on the purchase price or an ‘allowance’.

Inspection pre-completion

The buyer may wish to inspect the property after the works have been carried out, before completion takes place.  They can arrange to do this through the agents or their Solicitor. It is a good idea to do this as it means that if the works have not been undertaken to a satisfactory standard, there is still time, before completion, to perfect them. It is therefore advisable to allow additional time before exchange or between exchange and completion for the works and inspections to be carried out by the seller and his agents.

*If the property is a ‘new build’ then a mortgage valuation may be adequate but in all other cases, a substantive survey should be considered.

Cellar in UKGeorgian in UK

Cellar and Basement Moisture Problems

Basements or cellars typically found in Victorian or earlier home (especially in London) are at a high risk of having or developing damp problems. Issues including signs of dampness in the cellar, moisture stains along walls or floor, and a musty odour or damp smell which will be identified by your Surveyor during the Home Buyers Survey. The Report will deatil the probable or actual cause/s of the damp, which may include for example:

  • Ground water (standing)
  • Inadequate Guttering around the roof line
  • Poor landscaping e.g where the garden level has been lowered below the internal floor level
  • Internal leaks (inside walls)

Georgian and Regency era homes

Although less common than Victorian property, the UK has a large stock of Regency and Georgian homes, particularly in areas lie Bath, York and London. Architecture of this style is generally regarded as offering superior and beautiful accommodation with excellent room proportions, high ceilings, large windows and bright, well proportioned rooms, mock balconies, and tiled roofs.

However as with all period property, old fashioned building methods (e.g. no DPC, poor drainage) and materials coupled with the deterioration over time means costly problems can await the unwary. Many of these properties have been renovated but all too often, behind those beautiful facades (often maintained to listed building standards) distract buyers from major internal issues that are often highlighted during the survey

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