Every year, nearly a million people buy a property to live in or to rent out to tenants. Money spent on a survey could save you thousands by providing ammunition for negotiating a price reduction – or by making you think twice about buying at all.

Depending on which level of survey you choose, the surveyor may advise on:

  • Checking the condition of your property
  • Current or future minor and major repairs and costs
  • Identifying how much it would cost to re-build the property for insurance purposes
  • Giving an independent view on the property’s value
  • Advising of any further checks the property will require


There are 5 different levels and types of surveys to consider when buying a home. Some are unavoidable, such as mortgage valuations. Others, although not a legal requirement, are worth considering to verify the condition and safety of the property.

  1. Mortgage valuation

Buyers often consider a mortgage valuation as the equivalent to a survey but it isn’t. The sole aim of the mortgage valuation is to satisfy the lender that your desired property is worth the price you’re paying – or at least the amount it’s lending, before they approve your mortgage. A mortgage valuation is carried out by a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

  1. Snagging surveys

If you are buying a new-build, it should have passed building regulation inspections and have a certificate from an insurance company such as Zurich or the National House Building Council. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t need checking, though. A snagging survey looks for mistakes made by building contractors, such as poorly painted walls, missing screws on door hinges and wonky switches. The benefit of this survey is that by ensuring on exchange that completion is subject to fixing any problems highlighted in a snagging survey, the developer would need to put these things right to get their money.

The Law Practice have a dedicated New Build  Conveyancing department based in Walsall, West Midlands. If you require any further information on the process of buying a new build property, please visit our new build page. *insert new build page link*

  1. Home condition report

This survey is for anyone buying a property that appears to be in ‘good condition’ but would still benefit from being checked for potential problems you may not see, such as hidden damp, woodworm or structural movement. The report will help cost likely future repairs.

  1. Homebuyers report

A survey of this nature is typically for properties that have been built since the Victorian age. The report will mirror the Home Condition Report and include advice and possibly an independent valuation of the property. If the value of the property suggested is less than you have offered, don’t panic; it doesn’t mean you have to pull out of the sale. Talk to the surveyor about how easy and expensive it will be to fix any problems. Use this information to negotiate the price down. Your conveyancer and surveyor will be experienced with these negotiations, so use them to help you.

  1. Building survey

This survey is vital for older character properties and properties of ‘non-standard’ construction such as timber. It’s also wise to have this survey if you are planning major works such as a loft conversion or extension. A building survey looks in great detail at the condition and any defects the property may have and potential to extend. If agreed, the surveyor would also give detailed costings of rectifying problems.


There are a few things you can look out for and draw to your surveyor’s attention.

If you are looking to purchase a property, in or around Birmingham, Walsall, Coventry, Stratford Upon Avon, London, Hertfordshire, contact our experienced Conveyancing Departments for a no obligation chat.

0121 778 2371 – Walsall

0121 358 7001 – Great Barr Birmingham

0207 167 4899 – London

01789 552 872 – Stratford Upon Avon

Or email


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