Posted on Oct 12, 2021


In these times of high demand and low housing stock driving up asking prices, there can be a temptation to reduce costs, remove barriers, and hurry sales along before someone gazumps you. Which is where it can be tempting to simply forgo your independent survey. After all, the lender’s free mortgage valuation will be perfectly fine. Right?


Actually,  that isn’t true. There’s a difference between an independent survey, and a lender’s valuation. The reality is, a lender’s surveyor will be primarily interested in looking after the lender, with a simple report confirming the property’s value. What they won’t do is offer a full and thorough survey that identifies any gremlins that may be lurking in the structure, extensions and interior of your property.

This means that any problems will remain out of view, ready to strike at a later date.

What type of survey should you get?

In general, there are three basic levels of survey:

  1. The RICS Property Valuation Report. This will equip you with an overview of a property, alongside a current market valuation.
  2. RICS Homebuyers Report. If your property is fairly modern, say less than a century old, and not made of unusual materials, this survey will offer you an in-depth report of any issues.
  3. RICS building survey. When a property is older, atypical, or has been altered in some way, this type of survey is recommended. And it’s a must for anyone who is planning to carry out work on the property at a later date.

Like a financial adviser, your independent surveyor is on your side.

As a homebuyer, you’re mostly dealing with neutral parties, such as your conveyancing solicitor, or the likes of estate agents and lenders, who are either looking to get their commission from the seller, or simply looking to protect their own investment.

However, you aren’t completely alone. A financial adviser, like the team here at Evolve, will look out for you, and support you throughout the homebuying process. And an independent surveyor will also stand firmly in your corner. They’ll look long and hard at things, and identify problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye.

But their services don’t just end when you’ve received the survey. After all, a survey report is an imposing tome, and may contain language that is unclear, technical, or simply confusing to the layperson.

A good independent surveyor will make themselves available to clarify things, so you can be sure you are making your buying decisions based on a clear understanding of the situation.

Remember, your survey is a potent bargaining tool.

Once you have your survey in hand, you’ll be able to move forwards. It may be that your property is in good shape. In which case, you can start to budget for minor repairs or renovation work that may have been identified.

However, anything that is flagged up as serious doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. It can be an opportunity to return to the negotiating table. For example, if the survey uncovered considerable work to be done, the homeowner might agree to carry out the repairs, or drop the price to compensate.

While some sellers will refuse, and even threaten to pull out of the deal, the survey can still offer you reassurance and bargaining power. After all, if your surveyor found something, so will the next buyer’s survey, and your seller will know that. And that information puts you in a strong position.

When it comes to buying a home, Evolve are here to support you. We offer free, impartial advice designed to secure you the best mortgage and home insurance deals, and can help you connect with a qualified and trustworthy surveyor. We’re on your side, so call us today.