Who organises a survey when buying a house?

A home survey is an essential part of buying a house. When conducted by a trained, RICS registered chartered surveyor, a home survey will illustrate many problems (past, present and potentially in the future) you, as a buyer, should watch out for. In this article, we’ll be discussing who generally organises one of these surveys and who pays for it.

Why is a home survey important?

Home surveys reassure you that the property you’re hoping to purchase is relatively problem-free. Trained chartered surveyors comb through the house, checking for the most often-seen issues, such as damp, subsidence and woodworm.

Some people choose to buy a home without having a survey conducted. There are a few reasons some do this: panic buying, trying to save money, and so on. However, it isn’t recommended.

Although there’s a moderate upfront cost for a home survey, they often uncover hidden faults and issues you might not otherwise notice. Buying the property without knowing about these problems might lead to unexpected repair and maintenance costs in the future.

As such, in the long run, a home survey can usually save you much more money than you’ll spend on it.

Who organises a home survey?

In most cases, a home survey is organised by the buyer. This is considered part of the ‘Property Due Diligence’ principle in the UK and across much of the world.

Due diligence means it’s the buyer’s responsibility to do as much research as possible on their potential investment – in this case, in a home. While this might not seem fair at first glance, the same thing actually happens across all sales in all industries. Whether you’re purchasing a new car, a pet or a light bulb, the seller won’t ever market their product’s flaws to you. Instead, they’ll only point out why you should buy it. It’s your job to research it, compare it to competitors, look at common faults, etc.

This case is the same for buying a new home (although, yes, on a significantly larger scale). Since the risk is much higher with property purchases, it makes sense to protect your investment through good solicitors, thorough research and a home survey.

On some (relatively rare) occasions, the seller may pay for a home survey and then share the results with any potential buyers as a sign of good faith. However, they aren’t legally obliged – or even particularly encouraged – to do so.

It’s generally accepted that the person who wants the survey report commissions and pays for it. Usually, this is the buyer.

How much does a home survey cost?

The surveying company sets the cost of a home survey. It depends on a few factors, such as:

  • The building’s size
  • Its current value
  • Its age
  • How long the survey is expected to take
  • Any optional extras

In general, there are three levels of RICS home surveys, conveniently referred to as: 

  • A Valuation
  • Home Survey Level 2 (previously a RICS Homebuyer Report)
  • Home Survey Level 3 (formerly a RICS Building Survey)

Valuation is a basic overview of a property solely to estimate its worth. These are useful for buyers and mortgage lenders (although mortgage lenders will want to do their own Valuation) looking to know the true value of a home to ensure they aren’t overpaying. 

A Home Survey Level 2 gives notably more detail than a Valuation, with a basic inspection covering the entire house. It’s generally suitable for ‘low risk’ properties (homes built with modern, conventional methods and materials). 

When it comes to older historic buildings, barn conversions, renovated cottages, or homes in areas well-known to suffer from subsidence, a Home Survey Level 3 is most appropriate. These are the most in-depth home surveys available and involve all the aspects of a Home Survey Level 2 and Valuation with a particular focus on structural integrity.

Enquire about a home survey from GB Home Surveys

If you’re considering buying a house, we’d strongly suggest organising a home survey with a RICS registered chartered surveyor to help protect your potential investment.

To instruct a chartered surveyor, get in touch with them to begin the process. An appropriate time with the current homeowner will then be agreed upon (it is still their house for now, after all) for the inspection.

A few days after the inspection, and certainly within a week, you should receive a full, detailed report from the surveyor (depending on the chosen survey).

Feel free to check out our Which Survey? page, which goes into slightly more detail on your three survey options. At GB Home Surveys, all our surveyors are experienced and qualified RICS members. We always aim to get your report back to you within seven days or less.

For a friendly no-obligation chat about your situation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, either by phone (03333 600 685) or email contact@gbhomesurveys.co.uk.

Looking for a quote, or maybe you have a question? Get in touch today.

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