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What survey do I need for my new home?

What survey do I need for my new home?

If you’re buying a home, you’ll want a survey to ensure its bricks and mortar are sturdy and not concealing any nasty defects – but which type should you go for?

Buying a new home is a major financial commitment – probably the biggest you’ll ever make. But how can you determine exactly what it is you are paying for?

The answer is by commissioning a home buyers survey, also known as a property survey.

What is a property survey?

In simple terms, a home buyers survey is a health check on a property. And if it reveals any problems, it puts you in a position to ask the seller to fix them before you proceed with the purchase.

Alternatively, you may choose to renegotiate the final sale price to account for the cost of fixing them yourself – or you may opt to pull out entirely.

Do I need to get a home buyers survey?

It’s not a legal requirement to have a home buyers survey on a property you are buying. And, at a time when your bank account feels like a bucket with a hole in the bottom, it may seem like an unnecessary expense.

However, a home buyers survey could actually save you money – not to mention a lot of stress – in the long run.

It’s a good idea to have a home buyers survey on most types of property, but it’s especially important if you’re looking to buy a home that’s unusual in structure, has a thatched roof or timber frame, is listed, or just very old.

You probably won’t need a home buyers survey if you are buying a new-build home, which typically comes with a 10-year NHBC guarantee.

However, you may still want to get a snagging survey done, which checks the property for defects and poor finishings such as wonky guttering and bad paintwork.

Important note! If you are getting a mortgage to buy your home, the lender will carry out a valuation of the property. But this is not a home buyers survey and shouldn’t be treated as one. The sole purpose of the mortgage valuation is to demonstrate to the lender that the property is worth the sale price before it gives you the green light for the mortgage.

Who does the home buyers survey?

It’s important to use a surveyor who is a member of a recognised governing body, such as RICS or RPSA, to carry out your home buyers survey.

Bear in mind that home buyers survey quotes vary between surveyors as well as properties, so it’s best to source a number of different ones first.

What types of property survey are there?

Professional industry body, RICS offers three types of home buyers survey, which vary in depth of inspection.


What is it? A Condition Report is the most basic survey and usually therefore the cheapest. It will typically take around one to two hours to complete, and a day to return.

What will the property survey do?

  • Check the basic condition of the building, services – such as gas and water supply – garage and any other outbuildings. It uses a simple traffic light system which will flag any problems that require attention
  • Provide a summary of issues and risks for your solicitor or property lawyer to look in to. For example, bad electrics, ownership of boundaries and planning permission for extensions or other building work.

How much does it cost? Fees are normally based on the purchase price, and start from £300.

When should I get one? A Condition Report is suitable for newer properties and homes that are in a general good state of repair. Get one if you will be happy with just a broad-brush overview of the property’s condition.


What is it? A HomeBuyer Report is a kind of middle ground. It’s more extensive than the Condition Report – and typically costs more too. It is offered either with or without a property valuation.

It typically takes one to two hours to inspect the property and another hour to complete the valuation.

You can expect to receive the HomeBuyer Report within two days.

The HOMEBUYER REPORT (survey only)

What will the property survey do? The survey-only HomeBuyer Report will include all of the features of the Condition Report, plus the following:

  • More far-reaching inspection. However, like the Condition Report, this will be limited to what the surveyor can actually see – they won’t be lifting up floor boards or moving furniture
  • Clear summary of problems that may impact the property’s value
  • Tailored advice on repairs and maintenance
  • List of issues that require closer attention to avoid serious damage or dangerous conditions
  • General information on the area, environment and energy efficiency
  • Any legal considerations.

 The HOMEBUYER REPORT (survey and valuation)

What will the property survey do? This version of the HomeBuyer Report comprises the survey, as outlined above, as well as the estimated cost of rebuilding the property, for building insurance purposes, plus the value of the property on the open market.

How much does it cost? Costs will vary according to the value of the property but budget for at least £350 for the survey-only report and £450 for the survey and valuation.

When should I get one? A HomeBuyer Report is suitable for most modern and older homes that are in a reasonable condition. Get one if you have any specific concerns about the purchase, or would just feel better about a more comprehensive survey.


What is it? A Building Survey is the most comprehensive survey – and, of course, the most expensive.

It can take several days to complete (depending on the property) and up to a fortnight to return.

What will the property survey do? The Building Survey will include all the features of a HomeBuyer Report, plus the following:

  • Thorough inspection and report on a variety of issues
  • Summary of defects (even insignificant ones) and potential problems caused by hidden flaws
  • Advice on repair options, their estimated cost and the potential consequences of failing to address them
  • Advice and considerations for your solicitor.

How much does it cost? Costs vary according to the value of the property but typically start at £500.

When should I get one? A Building Survey is suitable for large, old, unusual, listed or dilapidated homes. Also, for buildings that are undergoing a change-of-use, such as a barn conversion.

2. Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) surveys 

RPSA, a body of independent surveyors, offers three types of home buyers survey, which all include the following:

  • Inspection for subsidence, damp, rot, woodworm and other major defects
  • Photos to highlight features and areas of concern
  • A review of environmental issues impacting the property
  • Colour-coded condition ratings to highlight the importance of issues.

How much do they cost? Prices ranges from £400 through to £900, depending on the survey and property.


What is it? This home buyers survey is appropriate for modern or simpler types of property.

What will the property survey do? 

  • Review of the condition of the property, highlighting major issues and defects
  • At least 20 photos.


What is it? This home survey is suitable for all properties but is often used for older or more unusual properties, or properties where problems are suspected.

What will the property survey do?

  • More detailed review of the condition of the property
  • Advice on the nature of the repairs necessary, and the anticipated performance of the property in future
  • At least 40 photos.


What is it? This format is similar in style to the Mi Home Condition Survey. It is the only survey aimed specifically at buy-to-let property.

What will the property survey do? 

  • Add a Decent and Safe Homes (DASH) review of health and safety matters that tenants could raise within the 2019 Homes (Fitness for Habitation) Bill.


3. Surveys in Scotland


What is it? In Scotland, a seller is required – by law – to produce a Home Report pack within nine days of marketing a property.

You might still want to consider getting your own home survey done though, particularly if you have any concerns about the property. And some properties, such as new-build homes, conversions or those purchased through Right to Buy, don’t require a Home Report.

What will the property survey do?

  • Survey and property valuation
  • Energy Report, including an Energy Performance Certificate
  • Property questionnaire covering issues such as council tax and electricity provider.

How much does it cost? Between £585 and £820, according to RICS. But remember that’s for the seller to pay. If you are just buying a house in Scotland, a Home Report will not cost you anything.

So hope this helps explain the various survey options available to you and give you some guidance about which one is most suited to your specific circumstances.

So that concludes this episode of Ask the Estate Agent Podcast. You can contact us anytime using the links below:





So don’t forget to contact us with any subjects you would like us to cover or questions you would like answering in the coming episodes and until next time I would like to thank you for listening and goodbye for now.

This podcast is brought to you by Liberty Gate

Nottingham’s multi award winning Estate Agency

Source: Zoopla

About the author, David Thomas

David Thomas is an Entrepreneur and passionate Estate Agent who loves helping others on their property journey.

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