House Survey Myth Busting

The Homebuyers Report and the Building Survey (formerly known as the ‘full structural survey’) are the two most common types of survey offered to prospective residential property purchasers.

Many clients who approach us are unsure of the difference between the two options, with conflicting information available from various sources only adding to the confusion.

Here, we look at some common misconceptions and consider the main differences between the two survey types.


Myth 1: “The Homebuyers Report isn’t suitable for an older property”

It is widely purported that if a property is over 100 years old, the prospective buyer should commission a Building Survey Report.

If a property is particularly old, for example, a 1700s farmhouse then this is probably sensible advice.

However, it isn’t a hard and fast rule. The Homebuyers Report is often perfectly suitable for some properties, including most of the typical terraced housing stock within Lancashire, which is often over 100 years old.


Myth 2: “I want a full Building Survey because I’m worried that the Homebuyers Report might miss some serious defects”

It is certainly true that Building Survey Reports provides a thorough account of a property, reporting in greater detail than a Homebuyers Report. However, The Homebuyers Report generally involves the same visual inspection of the structure as the Building Survey Report, clients should have peace of mind that a serious structural defect is just as likely to be identified by a Surveyor undertaking a Homebuyers Report as a Building Survey. It is likely that further investigation will be recommended, but it will be identified.


Myth 3: “The Building Survey is very expensive compared to the Homebuyers Report”

Some clients are surprised at the difference in price between the two surveys.

The Homebuyers Report is designed as a cost effective service, which provides a concise summary of the building’s condition, along with a valuation. The report is produced in a template provided by the RICS and aims to bring serious defects and costly repairs to the client’s attention.

A Building Survey Report carried out by Lea Hough is a bespoke report, tailored to the property and generally much lengthier than a Homebuyers Report, providing a greater level of detail and maintenance advice, and covering minor defects too, hence the price difference.


Myth 4: “I won’t be able to understand my report”

A HomeBuyer Report is more concise and punchy than a Building Survey Report, and it could therefore be said that it is often easier for the customer to understand and interpret, rather than the alternative Building Survey Report that goes into much more detail.

That being said, whichever type of survey you choose from Lea Hough, our team will make themselves available to discuss its contents, so you can always be confident of being able to understand the results.


So, which report is the one for you?

Ultimately, this is down to the property and the client’s individual requirements.

To give a recent example, Lea Hough were instructed to survey a Grade II listed property in a semi-derelict condition for a potential buyer. The standard Homebuyers Report, which amongst other things, provides commentary on the internal finishes, kitchen and bathroom fittings, would have been less appropriate for this property (seeing as it didn’t have any internal finishes, a bathroom or a kitchen in its derelict condition!)

A Building Survey Report on the other hand was ideal. We were able to provide a tailored written report which focussed on the structure of the building and provided the detailed advice the client required.

If any doubt remains, the best way to determine the correct survey is to speak to one of our Surveyors. Our experienced team will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide honest, no obligation advice on your options. Get in touch here.


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