Building Surveys: What Are They and Do I Need One?


Buying a property is not just about finding your dream house and purchasing it right off the bat. It’s often a lengthy process which involves a lot of things that you need to consider carefully. After all, you’re talking about a house where you will be living in for the foreseeable future.

Selling a house is very far from being simple either, and in most cases, it goes hand in hand with buying a property. After all, Brits have been known to move houses for up to eight times during their lifetimes. You don’t just put it up for sale at the highest possible price and expect that someone will buy it right away.

One key factor that will determine your success whether you are buying or selling a house is by having a building survey carried out. Doing so will provide you with valuable information about a property’s condition through extensive inspection done by a chartered surveyor. The three main types of survey are as follows:

Do you need one?

The quick answer is YES!

It’s true that there is a fee which will depend on the type of survey and how big the property is. However, it’s a small price to pay in exchange for the valuable information you will get by having it done before you buy or sell.

Why you need a survey when buying a house

A mortgage valuation is not enough

25% of buyers think that they don’t need one because they feel that mortgage valuations are enough. But the truth is that a mortgage valuation is done for the benefit of the lender and not the buyer. It is done so they can confirm that the property is indeed worth what you are paying for so they can get the money back in case you stop paying by repossessing and re-selling the property.

It puts you in a better position to negotiate the price

A chartered surveyor will be able to uncover any hidden problem in the property that you plan to buy. Issues such as damp, dry rot, subsidence, etc. can be discovered by a chartered surveyor and will be reported if ever they are present. Along with that, you will be provided with estimate costs for repairs.

This means that you’ll be able to adjust your offer accordingly by deducting the estimated costs of repairs from the seller’s asking price. In most cases, they’ll be willing to lower the price, but if they are not, you can always back out from the deal.

It gives you peace of mind

As with everything else in life, knowing what you are getting yourself into before you give the go-signal is reassuring. If there are problems found during the survey, you’ll at least be ready and would know what to expect. If there are not, you can confidently proceed with the purchase and not have to worry about any unwanted surprises.

You avoid expensive repairs

What you have to understand is that repairs are more expensive the longer it takes for you to know that they are there. Having a survey done before you buy the house can save you a lot of money by letting you know what needs to be done immediately. Any maintenance work that needs to be carried out as well to prevent damages in the future will be given to you in the final report, which is a big bonus.

Why you need a survey when selling a house

It improves the value of your property

Having a survey done before you even decide to put up your house for sale can go a long way. It will significantly improve the overall value of your property provided that you take actions to fix any problem that may have been found during the survey. This should give you a better chance of getting the sale for the price you asked for.

You can adjust the price accordingly

Thanks to the survey, you will have a better view of the property that you are selling. You will know what needs to be fixed and how much it would cost you. Fixing the problems will work to your advantage since you can control how much you’ll spend on repairs instead of lowering your asking price.

Potential buyers will see you as trustworthy

By all means, you can opt not to fix any problem that will have been found during the survey. However, be sure to disclose everything to potential buyers. They will most likely negotiate for the price but what’s more important is that you’ll gain their trust and it’s highly unlikely that they’ll back out from the deal.

It increases your chance of getting the sale quicker

What you don’t want to happen is for your house to sit too long in the market mainly if you depend on its sale so you can move home. It’s not just about having a survey done but being honest in disclosing information to potential buyers as well. And if buyers see you as a trustworthy person, they’re more likely to proceed with the purchase.


To sum things up, a building survey can make or break the deal whether you are a buyer or a seller. From a buyer’s perspective, it’s about keeping yourself safe from potentially dangerous and expensive situations. And on the side of the seller, it’s about honestly getting the sale and at a reasonable price.

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