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What are the different types of house survey?

When you have chosen a property and apply for a mortgage with a lender, they will arrange for a valuation of the property to assess how much it is worth and decide whether they will be happy to lend against it.

There are several types of valuation you can choose from. To help you decide what type of valuation you might want for your property, we have summarised the different types below:

1. Basic Valuation

In this type of valuation, the lender will appoint a RICS Valuation Surveyor who will carry perform a short inspection of the property and report the findings to the lender.  The surveyor will report any overt defects in the property to the lender, but it will not be as detailed as the Homebuyer’s Report or The Building Survey.

You will be charged for the valuation fee by the lender.

2. Homebuyer's Report

A Homebuyer’s Report is more comprehensive than the basic valuation and is designed to inform the buyer about the condition of the property and whether it is worth buying at the asking price. This type of report is best suited to properties built within the last 80 years and with sizes up to 185 square metres. It is also more expensive than the Basic Valuation.

Approved by the Royal institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), this survey covers all accessible parts of the property, but is less detailed than a Building Survey, and the final report is short. The report specifies major defects, but does not usually give suggestions on remedial works, unless. If there is necessity of further investigation, it will be stated in this report.

The Homebuyer’s Report may offer you some room to challenge it if the surveyor has been negligent.

3. Building Survey (also called Full Structural Survey)

This is the most detailed type of survey and is also the most pricey. It is usually done when a full assessment of the property is needed and is the best kind of valuation survey for properties built before the 1900s, for larger buildings or those with atypical construction. 

Building Surveys are extremely detailed and cover all aspects of the property in minute detail. It can also detail remedial works required.

If the surveyor misses a defect in the property, you have the right to recourse.

Usually lenders have their own panel of approved surveyors which whom they work, or you might instruct your preferred surveyors too.

In case of all three surveys, if any actual defects are found, the surveyor may suggest that you obtain additional specialist reports.