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The home we live in is most likely to be the most significant financial investment the majority of us will undertake. However, many choose to purchase nonchalantly by not having a survey carried out before committing to buy.

A survey is an absolute must before you exchange any contracts. There are a variety of surveys available and none of them incur any financial valuations. A survey is simply to confirm that the property is in a good, living condition and working order.

What survey(s) will you need?

Buyers tends to stipulate a homebuyers report if the property appears to be in relatively good condition as long as it was originally build within the last 150 years or thereabouts. It does only highlight any defects and problems which are in desperate need of urgent repair which will affect the value of the property.

A Full Building Survey hightlights and reveals all problems that may be unseen when viewing to buy. This survey is therefore slightly more expensive than the homebuyers report for obvious reasons. If the property is very old, it is listed, or has an unusual extension/construction and gone through various internal and external alterations, the full building survey is highly recommended although it will not give a valuation of the property despite its extensive detail. After this survey, the surveyor may recommend further specialist surveys to be carried out (drainage, timber, electrical, damp). This will ensure that you know exactly what you are buying into and will not have any sudden discoveries. It can also paint a crystal clear picture on what excavations or refurbishments you will have to or would be interested in carrying out.

The majority of us buy a property with a loan or mortgage. The lender will always insist on valuing the property at the buyer’s expense. This is so as the lender is satisfied that the property is worth what was being paid. It also ensures that they could sell if needed if the buyer had defaulted on their mortgage payments so they get their money back. After all, it is also an investment from your loan/mortgage provider.

The buyer commonly wrongly assumes that there is no need to have a survey if they are having a bank valuation. There are 4 major reasons why you must have a home survey before buying.

Obvious defect.

Surveys will ensure that any defects will show. There could be major damp issues that you have not become aware of when viewing. This could cost thousands when moved in. If these defects are picked up on via a professional carrying out a survey then you can allow these repair costs in your budget. It will enable you to have grounds to negotiate with the vendor to get the issues resolved or drop your offering price to cater for these issues.

Alterations and building safety.

If the property have been previously structurally altered then there would be no way of knowing if these alterations meet building safety regulations. Was planning permission granted? This could cost again thousands or be potentially threatening the safety of those living/visiting the property. A survey will inform you if any work is needed to correct this and will enable you to drop your offer again.


Prior to having a mortgage approved, all lenders will arrange a bank valuation. This does not include whether the property was worth its value its value. If the property is valued via a survey less than its sales price then there is room to negotiate down for the buyer if there are any defects discovered by the professional.


If you are buying and looking to develop or modernise the property then there may be a few issues that will hinder your opportunities of adding value or changing the property to suit your needs to live in. this may include limitations to structural changes or any preservation orders that will again be restricting.

Piperhill Construction pride ourselves in being one on London’s leading contractors. We are experienced and qualified to undertake all aspects of work; from new build, basement construction, refurbishment, through to fully integrated services and first class designer finishes. Whether working within design and build or traditional contracts, our unfailing aim is to meet all of our clients and their consultants requirements and to produce the highest quality finished project. Please contact us on 0208 166 5607 if you wish to discuss a project.