Why have a Survey?

We're a small but specialist team at Phillips & Co. We enjoy meeting new clients and look forward to putting our reliable expertise at your service, but why should you engage our services?.

A question you may be asking is "I have had a Mortgage Valuation, why should I have a Survey?"


Homebuyers in England and Wales are facing bills for thousands of pounds by failing to have a sufficient survey of their property before purchase, according to new research* from RICS.


A quarter of all homebuyers who only had a mortgage valuation report had to make unplanned building works to their property after purchase.


On average, the bill for these works, such as damp proofing or repairing a roof, came to £1,818 – but the cost can be much higher.


Home surveys help buyers make informed decisions on whether to go ahead with buying a property, before legally committing themselves.


Despite their importance, many buyers remain confused about surveys.


A mortgage valuation report is often wrongly assumed to be a building survey.


Actually, it is purely an indication of the property’s value for loan purposes, prepared for thelender, not the purchaser.


Most importantly, it won’t uncover any potential problems. However, when questioned, 58 per cent of respondents wrongly believed a valuation report included the building’s condition, including searching for damp and structural movement. A further 31 per cent were mistakenly under the impression it included advice on any legal issues a solicitor should investigate.


Even if you are paying for a mortgage valuation report, RICS still recommends you arrange a survey with your own surveyor.


There are two options available; an RICS Homebuyer Report, which provides an inspection and report on the property’s condition, plus a valuation. A building survey is more detailed, and may be the bestoption if the property is in a bad state of repair, has been significantly altered, or if you are planning a major conversion or renovation.


A survey might just be able to help you get a better deal on your property, too.


76 per cent of those questioned agreed that a more comprehensive survey could potentially allow you to negotiate a better deal with the seller.


“In difficult economic times like this it makes sense to ensure you are getting the best possible value when purchasing a property.

No one wants to find a nasty surprise down the line, or pay over the odds for a property that needs lots of work.

A survey not only gives you a price valuation, but also a detailed report of the state
of the property.

Armed with this information you are in a much stronger position to decide whether to proceed with the purchase, or negotiate a better deal.”


David Dalby,
RICS Residential Director




To help homebuyers navigate the survey market, RICS has prepared some helpful tips:

  1. Ask an expert

         Your mortgage company or IFA will offer you advice on your finances, but
         it is a chartered surveyor who can offer you professional advice on the
         property itself.  Before you commit yourself legally your surveyor will
         advise you on what is a reasonable price to pay for the property and flag
         any serious defects or risks with the property.
  2. Spend a little to save a lot

         The old adage a "stitch in time saves nine" couldn’t be truer
         when it comes to property. By spending a small amount extra on a survey
         you could be saving yourself thousands. A HomeBuyer report costs just a
         few hundred pounds, a small amount extra on top of a valuation report, on
         average £350 – a small amount to help uncover any unpleasant or costly
         surprises. A building survey is more detailed and therefore more
  3. Use your survey to help negotiate a better

         76 per cent of those questioned agreed that a more comprehensive survey
         could potentially allow you to negotiate a better deal with the seller. A
         chartered surveyor adds: “My client had already had mortgage valuation,
         which didn’t raise any issues. However, the HomeBuyer report I carried out
         found lintels missing over window openings, laminating roof tiles, blocked
         drains, and rising damp. The fee to repair these problems could have cost
         £2,000 – a sum the client negotiated off the cost of the house.”


*Survey conducted for
RICS by GfK NOP Business

1,001 interviews were conducted online during August 2010 with people who had
bought a property in the last 12 months or were considering doing so in the
next 12 months.


March 2011:  BRE research reveals that it makes sense to have an independent report on the condition of a property prior to finalising negotiations.



Studies show that without a survey 1 in 4 find that they have to make repairs costing on average £2,500 that would have been identified in a survey and for 1 in 10 it is over £10,000.

Those that do get a survey achieve an average asking price reduction of £2,000.