Survey Types

When buying a property, a mortgage lender will insist on carrying out a Basic Mortgage Survey as an absolute minimum.

However, there are varying types of survey you can obtain when purchasing property, which go into differing levels of detail.

We have outlined below the three main types of survey our clients typically choose when buying a property.

The sole aim of this survey is to satisfy the mortgage lender that the property you are purchasing is suitable security and worth the price you are paying for it.

It’s not intended to highlight any repairs that need to be fixed, although any major defects should be picked up as it could affect the lender’s decision to lend on the property itself.

If the property is reduced in value by the surveyor, you could:

  • Negotiate the purchase price with the estate agent, or seller/vendor
  • Dispute the valuation by providing comparable evidence of similar properties in your area that have recently sold (more common with remortgage, rather than purchases)

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate building surveyors. 

Thameside Mortgage Ltd are not regulated by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, we do not have any involvement in the provision of this type of service / activity.

The report is now quite lengthy, usually in the region of 25 pages, but it is divided into easily readable and logical sections as follows:

  1. Introduction to the report
  2. About the inspection
  3. Overall opinion and summary of the condition ratings
  4. About the property
  5. Outside the property
  6. Inside the property
  7. Services
  8. Grounds (including shared areas for flats)
  9. Issues for your legal advisers
  10. Risks
  11. Valuation
  12. Surveyor’s declaration

The report will also include a number of appendices which provide useful information about what the purchaser needs to do next and, particularly in the case of leasehold properties, any enquiries that legal advisers need to make prior to exchange of contracts.

This is the most comprehensive and most expensive type of survey and is suitable for all residential properties, usually for properties built more than 75 years ago, those built from unconventional materials (thatch, timber etc.) or properties that have had lots of structural alterations/extensions.

The surveyor will check the property thoroughly, looking at everything that is visible or easily accessible to examine the soundness of the structure, its general condition and all major or minor faults. More specialist surveys can also be carried out on aspects such as foundations, damp proofing, or tree roots, either by a specialist within the firm of surveyors or by an independent specialist surveyor.

The report you receive will be extremely thorough and very long, as surveyors are legally obliged to inform you of all the findings of the survey. Don’t necessarily be put off if it seems that endless defects are listed – every house has some defects and surveyors tend to show the worst-case scenario for anything they discover. You should be provided with a list of prices for repairs and maintenance work, which will also tend to over- rather than under-estimate prices.