What kind of survey do I need?

Get your survey, valuation or report from Brian Gale Surveyors

The purchase of a residential property is a major investment and it is wise to establish the exact condition of the building before you commit to the transaction. This is where a property inspection and survey carried out by a Chartered Surveyor, registered with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or the Independent Surveyors’ and Valuers’ Association (ISVA), is invaluable.

A surveyor will take a look around the property and identify any issues that you may not have noticed yourself but that could end up being costly in the longer term. If a serious problem is detected, this will give the buyer and seller the opportunity to reach an understanding about how to proceed, including the following options:

  • Rectifying the issue before completion
  • Reducing the agreed property price
  • Withdrawing from the transaction

What’s more, a residential property survey is an excellent tool to establish how much you may need to invest in property repairs or refurbishments once you have bought it.

At Brian Gale Surveyors, our experienced surveyors offer a choice of residential property surveys and valuations, ranging from simple mortgage valuations to in-depth building surveys specially designed to help homebuyers. Here’s a guide to the main types of residential property survey that you may come across.

RICS Condition Report

The RICS Condition Report will describe the condition of the property and identify any risks and potential legal issues, while highlighting urgent defects. This type of report is most suitable for new builds and for conventional homes that are in a good state of repair.

The RICS Condition Report follows a basic ‘traffic light’ survey; there is no advice or valuation provided. Costing in the region of £250, it is the most basic and economical survey available.

RICS HomeBuyer Report

Suitable for conventional properties that are in a reasonable condition, a HomeBuyer Report will cost around the £400 mark. This report will help you identify structural problems with the building including damp and subsidence, along with any other hidden issues both inside and outside. That said, the inspection will not extend to beyond floor boards or behind walls.

This report also uses an easy-to-follow traffic light approach, and a property valuation may be included.

ISVA HomeSurvey Report

An ISVA HomeSurvey Report is recommended for modern properties constructed after 1975 and conventional homes in reasonable condition. At Brian Gale Surveyors, we believe this type of survey to be more informative, comprehensive and easier to understand than other surveys, in particular the RICS HomeBuyer Report.

This mid-range service provides a detailed account of the structural condition of the property, specifying any defects and remedial works that should be carried out, including a priority list and estimated potential costs. The report will include an independent property valuation.

RICS Building Survey

The RICS Building Survey is the most comprehensive of the RICS reports. It is an in-depth inspection but uses a simple presentation style along with a 1, 2, 3 rating system to help you identify the most serious issues. This type of survey is most appropriate for larger and older properties, or if you are planning to carry out major building works. You should be prepared to spend upwards of £500, depending on the size of the property.

The report will give you a detailed analysis of the property’s condition and highlight a range of issues with regard to defects, repairs and maintenance options. Also included are advice sheets on how to tackle some of the more common problems that have been detected, an outline of repair options and the ramifications of not dealing with them.

Full Building Survey

Formerly known as a Structural Survey, a Full Building Survey may be the best solution for older and period properties, large and/or unusual buildings and homes that need extensive repair or refurbishment. Costing upwards of £600, this is the most detailed survey you can get, and it is not bound by the RICS formatting.

The surveyor will carry out an in-depth inspection and though they won’t be able to look under floorboards or behind walls, the expert opinion should include advice on the potential for hidden defects in these areas. Also provided is detailed advice on potential repair options.

Mortgage Valuation Report

It is worth including the Mortgage Valuation Report in this list since many home buyers believe this to be another type of survey – which is emphatically not the case. Residential property buyers should be aware that the sole aim of a mortgage valuation is to satisfy the lender in determining the current market valuation of the property.

The report is a valuation only, not a condition report, and no information will be given with regard to the structure or overall condition of the building. The cost of a mortgage valuation report is proportional to the value and size of the property and can lie anywhere between £150 and £1500.


“Thank you for your good service. Based on the report we have decided not to proceed with the purchase of the property. We are now on a mission to find another property. We will use you again for a HomeBuyer’s Report when we find a property we like.”E Liu ★★★★★


Get in touch

If you are considering the purchase of a residential property, we would be delighted to discuss how we can help. Commissioning an independent survey is a simple and cost-saving way to ensure there are no nasty surprises once the transaction is complete, while the information from the survey can often be used as a negotiating tool to adjust the purchase price.

Call Brian Gale Surveyors on 01737 245947 for a friendly chat, or submit a quotation request here. We look forward to hearing from you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Powered By