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Your home is likely to be one of the most expensive purchases you ever make. You need to know as much as you can about the property before you buy it, so having a survey makes good sense and could save you thousands of pounds in costly repair bills.

Which? and The Council of Mortgage Lenders advise you have a survey before you buy and not just to rely on a valuation. A valuation is not a survey. Using the services of an RICS surveyor offers confidence because:

  • They give you clear, impartial and expert advice
  • They act in your interest
  • They are tightly regulated and have to follow strict rules of conduct including having insurance in place to protect you
  • RICS members have to update their skills and knowledge throughout their careers, so you can rely on their expertise
  • You are protected by a complaints procedure

What to expect from a survey

Surveys are a kind of ‘health check’ for buildings. If you’re buying a property, you should have a survey before you enter into a contract.

A survey might actually save you money. If there are serious problems, you can often renegotiate the sale price of the property to reflect the cost of necessary repairs; you might even decide you don’t want to buy it at all.

Your surveyor will report on all the parts of the property they can easily reach. They don’t inspect under carpets or furniture and they don’t test water supply or wiring – though they will comment on their condition.

There are two main types of survey, an RICS HomeBuyers Report (HBR) and a Building Survey.

If you’re about to buy a property, you might have specific worries about the building you’re going to buy. Talk them through with an RICS member who will be happy to discuss your particular concerns in more detail and help you decide which type of survey is right for you.

If you’re interested in making structural changes to a property or you think there might be a damp or rot problem, an RICS member will be able to advise you about this too.

Their report is designed to help you make a more informed decision. Costs vary depending on which type of survey you have and the type of property you are hoping to buy but a HomeBuyers Report or a Building Survey can offer assurance.