What does a residential surveyor look for?

Home Buyers, Home Owners //

What does a residential surveyor look for?

Residential surveyors inspect properties that are being bought and sold, to highlight any potential issues the property may have. Property surveys are an optional, but highly recommended, part of the home buying and selling process, as it gives everyone involved peace of mind and avoids any unexpected surprises. There are a few different kinds of residential property survey available to you, and your surveyor will look for different things depending on the type of survey they are conducting.

It is important to note that a mortgage valuation and a property survey are two very different things. A mortgage valuation is purely for the benefit of your mortgage lender and provides them with information about how much the property is worth and whether it is a good risk against which to lend.  In comparison, a property survey is a much more in-depth inspection of the property, its features and defects. 

If you want a more comprehensive assessment, including the structure, of the property you are thinking of buying, you should consider investing in a residential survey. 

There are three main types of home survey that an RICS-registered surveyor can provide: a Condition Report, HomeBuyer Survey or a Building Survey.

Condition Report

A Condition Report provides a concise snapshot of the condition of the property and is generally used for conventional residential properties that are considered to be in a good condition. When conducting a Condition Report, your surveyor will be looking for any obvious problems, faults or issues with the property that may need addressing. They will then rate their findings via a traffic light system, detailing whether immediate action or no action is required to address the issues and will provide notes to your legal advisor to consider.  

You can find out more about RICS Condition Reports here

HomeBuyer Report

The second type of property survey available to you is a HomeBuyer Report. This is more in-depth than a Condition Report and is most suited to properties built within the last 100 years. Your surveyor will assess the general condition of the property and use a traffic light system to rate specific elements and highlight areas of concern e.g. damp and dry rot. The report will also include professional advice on repairs and maintenance required, along with a market valuation, advise for your legal advisor and a reinstatement cost.

You can find out more about RICS HomeBuyer Reports here.

Building Surveys

A Building Survey is the final type of residential property survey and is the most comprehensive and in-depth survey on offer. It is best suited to older properties, those that are of an unusual construction, those that you already know have significant defects, or if major alterations and renovations have been completed or are planned. In this case, a surveyor will look for and assess both major and minor problems, from damp to the condition of the insulation and drainage. They will examine the structure of the property, noting the construction materials used, and will provide advice on defects and appropriate repair options (including cost estimates where possible).

You can find out more about Building Surveys here.

Property surveys are designed to give home buyers, vendors, lenders and legal advisors the information they need to make informed decisions throughout the process. 

If you’re still unsure which survey is right for you, take a look at our Survey Comparison Guide here. Alternatively, if you’d like to discuss your requirements with a member of the e.surv team, please get in touch and we’d be happy to help.

Photo by Magda V on Unsplash