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What are property surveys, and what do they include?
What are property surveys, and what do they include?

A survey is a detailed inspection of a property’s condition, intended to flag any problems such as unstable walls or faulty wiring.

Written by Tanisha Anand
Updated over a week ago

A survey is optional. But they can help you avoid expensive surprises and give you peace of mind.

Also, remember that your solicitor won’t be visiting the property, so a surveyor is also there to look for potential legal issues. Anything from unauthorised building works or restricted access will be noted in your surveyor’s report and can be shared with your legal advisor.

What is the difference between a survey and a valuation?

Your mortgage lender will conduct a valuation on your property to confirm that its value matches what you’re paying for it. But a mortgage valuation is not a survey!

A survey is more detailed- we will go into more detail below on what each survey includes.

Please note that the mortgage valuation conducted by our selected valuation company, on behalf of Gen H is for our purposes only and you will not receive a copy of this.

Helpful information

  • A RICS qualified surveyor will carry professional indemnity insurance (this is important to protect against negligence).

  • The cost of the survey would be covered by yourself and the cost will depend on the property.

  • Make sure to tell your surveyor if you have any particular concerns about the property.

Consider a survey if:

  • You have any worries about the property

  • You are buying an old or unusual property

  • The property has a thatched roof or is timber-framed

  • The building is listed.

  • If you’re unsure, discuss your options with your surveyor.

Valuation Expiry

Your valuation will be valid for 180 days. After this point, a new valuation will be needed and the cost for the valuation will be payable by you. Your mortgage advisor will help in arranging this for you. We will always aim for you to complete before the expiry of your valuation.

What are the different types of surveys?

Level 1: Home Condition Report

These provide an overview of the property’s condition but do not go into great detail.

The report focuses on the condition of the property and includes:

  • traffic light ratings that show the different parts of the building, services, garage and outbuildings, and will flag problems that require attention

  • a summary of the risks to the condition of the building

  • overview of things like planning and building control issues and guarantees for your legal advisors

It does not provide either a valuation or insurance reinstatement figure (the cost to rebuild your home if needed).

Level 2: HomeBuyers Report

A HomeBuyers Report often referred to as a RICS Level 2 building survey, is the most common type of survey for buyers.

The report will provide all of the information included in the Home Condition Report as well as the following:

  • a market valuation

  • a list of problems the surveyor thinks may affect the value of the property

  • advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance

  • an insurance reinstatement figure

  • issues that need to be investigated to prevent serious damage or dangerous conditions

  • legal issues that need to be addressed before conveyancing is completed

  • information on the location, local environment

  • where available, information on energy efficiency

Level 3: RICS Building Survey

For a more comprehensive report, a RICS Building Survey offers an extensive breakdown of a property’s condition.

The surveyor will inspect all parts of the property that are easily accessible or visible to assess the structure and condition.

You can learn more about what the different surveys include here.

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