Which Survey Should You Get When Buying a House?

Types of house survey

Home surveys are essential for highlighting any problems that need to be fixed before you move into a property. But how will you know which survey to have?

There are three main types of survey in England, which were all renamed in March 2021. They include:

  • Level 1 Survey

Previously known as a Condition Report, a Level 1 Survey is the most basic survey you can get on a property. It’s also usually the cheapest.

This type of survey will provide a general overview of a property’s condition, using a traffic light system to highlight any significant problems. This could include damage to the property, safety risks or potential legal complications.

But unlike other surveys, a Level 1 Survey won’t provide buyers with advice or recommendations for any repairs needed. For this reason, it’s often only used for relatively modern homes that aren’t expected to have many issues.

  • Level 2 Survey

A Level 2 Survey – which used to be known as a HomeBuyer Report – is the most popular kind of property survey. It also uses a traffic light system for identifying issues (or a similar 3, 2, 1 grading system), but goes into greater detail about the problems revealed than a Level 1 Survey.

For instance, if a property has an issue with damp or mould, there will be information and recommendations provided for how to fix it and prevent it from coming back.

Level 2 Surveys are usually only used when a property is in a reasonable condition and is less than 50 years old. If the house is older, or requires a lot of work, a Level 3 Survey may be more suitable.

  • Level 3 Survey

This used to be known as a Building Survey, and it’s most commonly used for larger properties or period homes that may need more work.

A Level 3 Survey will involve an in-depth inspection of a property, meaning it is more expensive than other surveys. But in the long term, you could end up saving thousands if it reveals problems that you wouldn’t have otherwise known about.

You may also be able to request a property valuation as part of a Level 3 Survey, which will save you from having to arrange this separately with your mortgage lender.

How do I arrange a house survey?

You should think about arranging a survey as soon as your offer on a house is accepted. This is because you can use the results of the survey to renegotiate on the price of the property if needed. You may also decide that you want to pull out of the process if significant problems are revealed.

When you’re looking for a surveyor, the most important thing to consider is whether they’re a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). You can search for RICS-accredited surveyors on their website.

Make sure to get quotes from a number of different surveyors before making your decision. It can be tempting to go with the surveyor recommended by your mortgage lender or estate agent, but this could end up costing you more.

When you’ve chosen your surveyor, they’ll visit the property to carry out the survey. You’ll then need to wait for them to put their final report together. This could take a few hours or weeks, depending on the type of survey you’ve selected.

How much do house surveys cost?

The cost of a survey will depend on a number of factors. These include:

  • The location of the property
  • The type of survey you get
  • The value of the property

For a Level 1 Survey, you’ll usually pay between £300-£900, whereas a Level 2 Survey is more likely to set you back £400-£1,000. But Level 3 Surveys are the most expensive, usually costing up to £1,500.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure which survey you should have. Your property surveyor will be able to help you decide which one is best suited to the house you’re buying.

Is a valuation report the same as a house survey?

A house survey is not the same as a valuation report from your mortgage lender.

This is mainly because a valuation checks the value of a property and whether it’s suitable for a mortgage. It doesn’t cover the property’s condition and won’t identify any problems.

If you’re in the process of buying a house, our conveyancing solicitors could help you. To find out more about the services we offer, get in touch with us or start your enquiry online.

Note: First4Lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances.

Get in touch today to discuss your requirements 08005677866

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