What survey should I go for?

With mortgage lender Halifax reporting that the average UK property price is now £200,280, few home buyers can afford a mistake when making what in many cases is the most expensive purchase of their life.


New-build homes often come with a 10-year warranty, but purchasers of older properties will not receive the same protection.

That is why the majority of property purchasers opt to pay for either a HomeBuyers Report or a building survey. But which is best? Here, we will take a look at each service…

HomeBuyers Report

A HomeBuyers Report is a common type of survey used to conduct an in-depth analysis of a property. It is a fully detailed report that can last anywhere between two and three hours, depending on the size and style of the property, although much larger properties will take longer. The report takes a look at all visible and accessible elements of the property, listing any major or immediate defects found.

These can cover a wide range of issues which can be expensive and troublesome to fix if left unattended. Issues such as mould, mildew, penetrating damp and rising damp, a leaking roof, crumbling plaster and surface damage may be listed.

When is it recommended?

A HomeBuyers Report is tailored to meet the specifications of more modern properties and is more commonly used by purchasers of properties that are less than 150 years old. The report will conclude with expert advice given as to how any defects may be resolved, including a costing of these repairs.

Building Survey

A Building Survey works in very much the same way as a HomeBuyers Report, but the detail of the report is much greater. As a Building Survey has more to look for, the report lasts longer and looks in more detail at any problem areas. The report will include photographs of any issues found, and may include previous history of any other issues.

In a similar vein to the HomeBuyers Report, a Building Survey can identify a number of internal and external defects including rising damp, penetrating damp, damaged timber, roof damage, mould, mildew, condensation, asbestos and other issues. A Building Survey will also look at the construction of the property and will list any issues it finds with party walls, load-bearing walls, structural issues and anything that may cause the property to collapse if it is not remedied.

When is it recommended?

A Building Survey is recommended for older homes as well as listed and historic properties. It is also better suited for altered properties, timber framed properties and properties of a non-traditional structure. The report concludes with advice on any immediate issues or defects found, as well as an approximate costing of repairs that need to be made.

If you are ever unsure as to what sort of survey your property needs, your best bet is to consult a professional surveyor. Often offering a vast wealth of experience in your local area, many surveyors work independently, meaning they can offer honest and unbiased advice that is not designed to sway your decision in favour of the estate agent.

You can rely on professional advice that serves to give you all the relevant information about the property in question. It will help save you money on the cost of potential repairs in the long run and is always recommended for those buying a new home.

Article provided by Mike James, working together with Gowers – an ISO9001:2008 accredited company based in Stamford, Lincolnshire.