Confused? How to choose the right property survey

Your search for a new home is underway, the building society have given you an offer of a mortgage in principle and you’ve seen the property of your dreams – so what next? The most important next step is to organise a survey to determine the property’s condition, but what kind of survey do you need?

Image Credit

What constitutes a survey?

Firstly, what is not a survey – a valuation. A valuation is a visual inspection to determine the market value of the property and is usually carried out by the mortgage provider to make sure the asking price is a fair market price and to ensure that their loan is protected in the event of a default. An independent survey carried out by a RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) surveyor assesses the condition of the property and is essential when buying a property.

How to find a surveyor with confidence

Finding a surveyor for a home buyers survey Watford is easy when using Sam Conveyancing as they have RICS surveyors throughout England and for a fixed fee you also have the benefit of a Sam team member taking care of all the arrangements. Find out more at

Not sure which survey you need?

A new 3 level system was launched by RICs in 2020 to create a consistent minimum level of detail for each type of survey and makes identifying the right survey much easier.

Image Credit

RICS Level 1 – RICS Condition Report

This basic report is based upon a visual inspection and is only used for new build homes. It gives an overview of the property’s condition and is used alongside the information contained in the mortgage valuation survey commissioned by your lender.

RICS Level 2 – RICS Home Buyer Report (HBR)

The RICS HBR can be commissioned in one of two variants. Survey only, and survey with valuation. The HBR uses a RICS defined standard format and is designed to assess and detail the condition of those properties of no more than 150 years old, of conventional design and in reasonable condition. It only details any aspects of the property’s condition that requires urgent attention and is therefore not suitable for properties that have had significant alterations or need renovating.

RICS Level 3 – Building Surveys

A full Building Survey which used to be called a full structural survey can be used for all properties, but is really designed for listed buildings, properties older than 150 years, properties extended extensively, renovation projects and unconventionally constructed properties. This survey tends to be customised to suit the property and your requirements and looks at all parts of the property that are accessible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.