Surveys are usually conducted by RICS registered surveyors. They are highly trained and qualified to inspect the physical aspect of properties in much more detail than a conveyancer, who will investigate the legal title. A survey will give a thorough condition report with photos, note any damage, cracking, dampness, asbestos, blown render, and potential structural issues (depending on the type of survey you choose).
A Homebuyers Survey gives sufficient information to assure most residential purchasers. If you intend to significantly extend a property, for example, then a full Structural Survey will help you fully ascertain the condition of the structural aspects of the property.
If you need mortgage finance, then your lender will conduct a Valuation Survey which is for their own purposes, to satisfy themselves that the price you are proposing to pay for the property is not too high for what it is. Valuation Surveys are quite short documents that state the basic construction and estimated age of a property. They contain much less detail than a Homebuyers Survey.
If you intend to have a survey carried out, do inform your conveyancer of the date it will be done. This will assist them in managing the overall timescale of your purchase and they may also have regard to the section for legal advisors which many surveys contain.
It is important to read through the result of the survey and look for any defects in the property that perhaps you could not see at a short viewing appointment. Surveyors usually highlight any issues using a color-coded ‘traffic light system’ – so look out for amber and red symbols or text, which will warn you of potential work that the surveyor believes will need carrying out very soon, or immediately, to make the property safe.
The decision is yours, but we do recommend getting one for your peace of mind.