Getting the most from your survey

When buying a property, making the decision whether to instruct a Chartered Surveyor to carry out a survey – and which survey to choose – is an important one. We’d always recommend a survey – be it a RICS Homebuyer Report or a Building Survey Report – so you can enter into the property transaction fully aware of the condition of the building and any additional costs you might need to budget for if works are required.

But what about the survey itself – how can you get the most out of the survey process? Here is some advice…


Be mindful of who you appoint.

Smaller, local firms of Chartered Surveyors have a number of advantages over large, multinational corporates. Some larger corporate firms operate a system where their employee surveyors are under pressure to turn around high volumes of work in a short timescale, often meaning a less detailed report. Experienced Surveyors from smaller, local outfits will usually dedicate more time and attention to your survey and additionally, will likely have local knowledge they can pass on to you in their report. For further tips on how to choose a Chartered Surveyor, view our blog on this topic.


Highlight any areas of interest.

If there are any works you plan to carry out on the property once you’ve bought it, such as a loft conversion or internal remodelling, or if there are any specific concerns you have, you should highlight these to the surveyor before the survey takes place. This will alert the Surveyor to the fact that these areas are of particular interest, meaning they can dedicate additional time to looking at these/discussing them in the report.


Be sure to understand the report fully.

Due to their technical nature, survey reports carried out on behalf of a property purchaser can contain terminology you are unfamiliar with. You might therefore be left confused by the report, or even alarmed by its contents. Remember that Chartered Surveyors will report upon all the defects they detect, even if in relative terms, these are fairly minor and are actually typical for the type of house you’re purchasing. If you are at all unsure about the contents of the report you have received, contact your Surveyor to talk it through. Some firms of Surveyors (but not all) will be happy to discuss the contents of the survey report with you, putting any defects into perspective and providing further explanations as required.


Choose the type of survey carefully.

In an attempt to save money, you might opt for the cheapest option when it comes to a survey report. You should be aware that a Valuation is not a Survey! RICS Homebuyer Reports follow a set structure as laid out by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and are a popular option. The most comprehensive residential survey is a Building Survey Report. The age and condition of the property will give a steer on which option to choose – a Building Survey Report is often recommended for older properties or those of a non-standard construction.

If there are any specific areas of concern identified in the RICS Homebuyer Report or Building Survey Report, the Surveyor may recommend that a further investigation or specialist report be carried out. For example, a structural engineer’s report may be advised in cases where there is evidence of significant movement or a thorough damp report may be recommended if damp has been identified. Specialist reports are also commonly recommended for testing services such as electrics, gas boilers and drains, as these often fall outside the scope of a Survey.

Lea Hough offer a full range of residential surveys, including RICS Homebuyer Reports and Building Survey Reports. Our Chartered Surveyors are also able to conduct Specific Defect Reports if further investigation on a particular issue is required.

Our Chartered Surveyors pride themselves on offering a thorough service to clients throughout Lancashire and will do their best to make themselves available to discuss the contents of any report they prepare. For more information or to speak to one of our Chartered Surveyors for advice, please contact us.

Preston Office
Telephone: 01772 458866
Blackburn Office
Telephone: 01254 260196
Clitheroe Office
Telephone: 01200 320040
Lancaster Office
Telephone: 01524 899850
Manchester Office
Telephone: 0161 265 0070
Lea Hough is a trading name of Lea Hough & Co LLP, which is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under partnership number OC306054.
Registered Office: Oakshaw House, 2 Capricorn Park, Blakewater Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB1 5QR