Frequently Asked

How to Prepare for a Home Buyer Survey – What you need to know.

Here are some of the questions we are regularly asked when preparing for a home buyer survey.  Hopefully the answers we’ve provided will help to answer any questions you have. If you have any additional questions then simply contact our team for assistance.

1. Before the survey

Why should I have a survey carried out?

Buying a property is a big financial commitment and we believe it makes sense to be fully informed about what you are buying. Our survey will ensure you have all the knowledge you need to avoid the possibility of discovering unexpected problems or expenses once you have moved in. And the survey could even pay for itself as it can provide the basis for negotiating a price reduction in the event of issues being identified.

What types of survey do you provide?

We provide a full building survey (formerly known as structural surveys) to clients who are in the process of buying a property.

Complementary to this, we also provide specific defect surveys, party wall advice, post-works surveys and project management.

What is the difference between a Homebuyer Report and a Building Survey?

A full building survey comprises a thorough inspection of all accessible parts of a property and a written report of the surveyor’s findings. A Home-Approved report provides a comprehensive evaluation of a property’s condition and details any defects, their extent and significance and the likely cost of remedial works. It means you will be fully aware of what you’re buying, puts you in a better position to make more informed decisions and you can factor in any future repairs.

A Homebuyer Report is based on a templated format containing drop-down boxes with pre-filled standard text. This means there is very little scope for the surveyor to add any extra detail or advice as he sees fit – comments can be quite general and the surveyor may have to pick the ‘closest match’ to what he sees. The inspection also covers only what is immediately visible. Homebuyer Reports are generally less expensive because they do not contain as much detail and are quick to complete. The price can be very attractive to property buyers facing so many expenses, but it’s important to be aware that the inspection is not comprehensive and things may be missed. For this reason, Home-Approved does not offer this type of survey.

The property I’m buying is not very old, do I really need a full Building Survey?

Whilst the property may have been recently built this is not a guarantee that it is free of defects or the possibility of costly repairs. We have experience of surveying new properties with more defects than a property dating back 100 years!

At Home-Approved we cannot emphasise enough the importance of a building survey, no matter how old the property is. Yes, it’s yet another bill to add to the rising costs associated with buying the property, but a building survey report should be considered a valuable investment for the future – a bible of sorts to what will hopefully become your new home, a list of things to do over time that will ensure your dream home doesn’t become a nightmare.

Does the building survey include a valuation of the property?

The Home-Approved building survey does not include a traditional (surveyor’s opinion) valuation. However, an “automated” valuation can be arranged at an additional cost.

This automated valuation is provided by Calnea Analytics and is based on information the surveyor gathers at the time of the inspection, such as gross internal floor area, gross external floor area and condition of property. In some respects this type of valuation is more thorough as it takes into account 15-20 comparable properties whereas a surveyor valuation looks at only 3-4 comparables. The final report – which is 15-20 pages in length – includes information about local amenities, schools and crime rates.

An AVM (Automated Valuation Model) calculates property valuations using a statistical model which computes large amounts of property data to generate an estimate of the market value for an individual property. A confidence level is also produced along with the valuation to indicate how accurate the valuation is.

My insurance company wants an insurance rebuild valuation figure, can you provide this?

Increasingly, insurance companies are requesting house purchasers to provide this information, particularly if the property is unusual or of high value. In order to provide this type of valuation the property will need to be measured and other details noted. We are happy to provide this service but need to know in advance of the survey and it is subject to an additional fee.

We’d like to extend the property, can the surveyor advise on this?

The surveyor is able to provide general advice on the feasibility of alterations and extensions and give an opinion. However, this should not be considered to be a ‘green light’, and you will still need to seek planning permission from the local authority as well as professional advice from an architect/structural engineer. If you do put in an application for planning permission, we can supply photographic evidence of alterations/extensions carried out by adjoining/neighbouring properties in support of your case. Naturally, this will require the permission of the home owners involved.

I’m buying a listed property, do I need a different survey?

No. The Home-Approved survey is suitable for all types of property. We have experience of inspecting both modern build and period properties, including listed properties. Because our building survey is thorough and comprehensive you can be assured that we will cover all aspects of the property and take into account its listed status.

I have specific concerns about the property, can I give you a list of questions/queries before the survey?

Yes. These will be added to the surveyor’s site notes and he will ensure these points are individually answered in the report.

2. On the survey day

Will the surveyor test the electrical or plumbing and heating installations?

The surveyor will carry out a visual inspection of these installations. He will check things like light switches, plug sockets, extraction fans, run taps and flush toilets. He will advise on what he is able to see and whether it is likely to comply with current regulations or whether an upgrade or further investigation is required. However, only specialist testing will confirm the adequacy, efficiency and/or safety of specific electrical, plumbing or heating installations, and surveyors are not qualified to undertake these tests.

Can I accompany the surveyor during the inspection?

Unfortunately, this is not possible. The surveyor has a set process to follow and needs to carry out the inspection without distraction to ensure that nothing is missed. You are, however, welcome to meet with the surveyor at the end of the survey for a walk through/discussion.

How long will the surveyor be at the property?

Naturally, this depends on the size and condition of the property. Inspections generally range from 1-4 hours.

3. After the survey

When will I receive the written report?

We know that the survey is key to the buying process and that unnecessary delays are detrimental. The written report will be emailed to you two working days after the survey has taken place. We will also forward a copy via email to your mortgage broker and/or legal adviser if instructed.

Can I speak to the surveyor after the survey?

Yes. However, please be aware that any verbal feedback will be limited to major defects or issues only and is based on what is fresh in the surveyor’s mind. The surveyor may not be able to fully comment and some aspects will require further research once back in the office. We recommend that any decisions about the property are based on the final written report.

Can I speak to the surveyor after I have received my report?

Yes. We know that reports can raise questions and the surveyor who carried out the inspection will be very happy to answer any queries about the report by phone or email.

Older properties in Esher

Older properties in Esher


Period properties in South West London

Flats in Guildford

Flats in Guildford