Do I Need a Homebuyers’ Survey as Purchaser?

September 24, 2015

This is often a question asked by clients purchasing a home and whilst we would answer ‘Yes’ in chorus as property practitioners the statistics suggest that the majority of Purchasers do without to save time or money! Clients often presume that a survey isn’t needed where a Lender is involved – since the mortgage provider has already carried it out why pay for another? Well, in short because the survey carried out by the Lender is not entirely sufficient from a Purchaser’s point of view. It is solely for the benefit of the Lender and gives only a valuation so as to ensure that the property is worth the amount they are lending- there is not a substantial investigation of the building structure or determination as to whether it is in a good state of repair.

In the case of an old property a Home Buyers Report can help unmask potentially extensive problems such as damp, woodworm, subsidence or other structural issues. On the opposite side of the spectrum such a report can be useful for newly built properties due to the common misconception that NHBC or other structural warranty cover affords adequate protection when in actual fact this does not form a guarantee but rather a warranty which isn’t always effective in the later portion of the 10 years for which it stands.

There are 3 types of survey available and include:

(1) RICS Condition report which gives you clear “traffic light” ratings showing the condition of the property, advice for your legal advisers and details of urgent defects

(2) RICS Home Buyers’ Report which provides all of the above plus a separate market valuation and insurance reinstatement costs, advice on defects that may affect the value of the property and recommends necessary repairs and on-going maintenance. This will cost approximately £350-£950 depending on the value of the property.

(3) a Building Survey gives you a detailed structural report tailored to suit your property, highlighting defects, repairs and maintenance options essential for larger or older properties or if you’re planning major works. This will cost approximately £500-£800 depending on the value of the property.

We would recommend that a Home Buyers Report be obtained in any purchase. A prudent Buyer can use any disappointing findings within the report as a bargaining tool to have the purchase price reduced or have the vendor complete relevant repairs prior to completing their sale. The age old principal of ‘Buyer Beware’ remains at the fore of any good conveyance in practice!

Please note; the content of this article is for information purposes only and further advice should be sought from a professional legal advisor before any action is taken.

Please contact Cleaver Fulton Rankin on 028 9024 3141 or alternatively visit