Property Surveys: To Invest or Not to Invest?

buildingwork.jpgBuying a new home can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience – exciting because it marks a new start in a new home, and nerve-wracking because buying a house is a big expense and commitment. 
It is important that you do your research before money changes hands to know as much as you can about the property you are buying.
Once the offer you place on your new property has been accepted, it is your solicitor’s job to ensure that the legal title of the property is in order.   Your solicitor will therefore carry out all of the necessary checks on the title to the property.

The one thing your solicitor is unable do for you is to inspect the property for physical defects.  Whilst you will of course have viewed the property a number of times yourself, unless you are a qualified surveyor there can be no guarantee that the property doesn’t have underlying physical defects that you are not aware of. 

In order to alleviate any fears in this regard, it is a sensible idea to obtain a survey of the property at an early stage in the conveyance process.

There are three main types of survey:

  1. Valuation Survey

If you are obtaining a mortgage to buy your property, a valuation survey will normally be carried out by the mortgage lender and this survey is solely for their benefit.  Valuation surveys are very basic and restrict themselves to comments of a very general nature only.

  1. Home Buyers Report (‘RICS Survey’)

This survey is carried out by a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and is a much more in-depth survey of your property. The property will be extensively assessed by a surveyor and any defects noted. An indication of the severity of the defect will be provided along with comments about the general upkeep and maintenance of the property.

  1. Structural Report

Occasionally, a defect will be found which is so concerning that you are advised to obtain a structural survey. This will generally look at one specific area of concern, such as problems with suspected cavity wall tie failure, or cracking which may be caused by a poorly constructed extension. Structural reports are also recommended should you be planning extensive renovation works upon buying the property.

All of the survey reports detailed can recommend the need for further specialist investigations, such as a damp proofing or timber report.  If you are buying with a mortgage, the mortgage company may insist that these reports are obtained before they release any monies to you to buy the property.  

The benefits of a thorough survey are hard to overstate as they frequently show hidden problems which may not have been apparent when you first viewed the property. It is therefore something that should be carefully considered by anyone thinking of buying a property.

RFlinnRuth Flinn is a Solicitor in the Property Law Department of Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors. She is experienced in all areas of residential conveyancing. If you require any further information on conveyancing matters, please CONTACT US HERE or contact Ruth on


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