If you’re buying a home, a survey gives vital insight into the property’s condition and conducts a building survey. But what exactly does the surveyor inspect? As your property experts, Complete Clarity Solicitors provides home buyers with complete clarity on what surveyors look for during different types of house surveys.

A survey identifies issues that could affect property value, require repairs, or indicate safety risks. While not mandated, we strongly recommend a survey and mortgage valuation before purchasing. Read on for a detailed overview of:

  • The survey process and timeframes
  • Different survey types and levels
  • What surveyors inspect during a property survey
  • Survey limitations and exclusions

Armed with this guide, you’ll know what to expect from a survey and what a surveyor will look for to make an informed before buying a new home.

The Survey Timeline of the house survey

Typical timeframes for arranging a survey include:

  • 1-4 hours for inspection of a standard property with a homebuyer survey
  • 3-8 hours for more complex properties needing a full structural survey
  • Factor in 3-5 days after inspection to receive a homebuyer report. Structural survey reports take around 8 working days.

Once your offer is accepted, contact RICS chartered surveyors immediately to book your inspection. Reports should be ready before paying your deposit or exchanging contracts.

Knowing typical timescales ensures your survey fits within your completion deadline. The Clarity Simplicity solicitors can connect you with reputable local surveyors.

Types of Property Surveys and Inspection Levels

There are three main survey levels: level 1, level 2, and level 3.

1. Condition Report

  • For newer, standard builds in good repair
  • Identifies property condition risks and urgent defects
  • Provides a traffic light rating of the property’s state

2. Homebuyer Report

  • Most common survey for average-condition homes
  • Like a condition report plus maintenance advice
  • Highlights potential future issues

3. Full Structural Survey

  • Needed for larger, older, or non-standard homes
  • A comprehensive inspection of all aspects of the property
  • Includes detailed technical information

Your conveyancer can advise which survey level suits your property. More complex buildings need deeper inspections.

What Does the Surveyor Inspect?

The surveyor’s focus depends on the subsidence and type of survey but generally includes:

  • Structural integrity – Wall stability, roof condition, extension safety
  • Materials – Brickwork, glazing, cladding types
  • Services – Electrics, heating, plumbing (but not fully tested)
  • Accessibility – Loft spaces, cellars
  • Risks – Damp, dry rot, cracked foundations
  • Energy efficiency – Insulation, ventilation
  • Outbuildings – Garages, sheds
  • Recommendations – Urgent repairs, future works
  • Legal issues – Rights of way, planning consents

Technical details like construction methods and materials help predict maintenance needs and when they inspect the property. Homebuyer surveys also estimate the costs of repairs. Structural surveys provide comprehensive technical specifications.

What Isn’t Covered in a Survey Valuation?

While thorough, surveys have limitations:

  • Most don’t fully test electrics or drains
  • Inaccessible areas like under floors aren’t inspected
  • Specific issues are only covered if requested
  • The mortgage lender’s valuation is separate

Additional specialist reports may be advisable if issues like electrics specifically concern you. We can arrange these tailored inspections.

For new builds, a snagging inspection identifies incomplete work for the developer to address. New builds should also come with a 10-year structural warranty.

Your legal conveyancer undertakes separate searches covering wider property matters like planning restrictions. Speak to them about the limitations of what the survey covers.

Work With a Trusted Property Surveyor

As your property partner, Clarity Simplicity has strong relationships with fully certified chartered surveyors. We recommend reputable professionals to ensure you get quality inspections. Buying a home is a big commitment – but the right survey gives you knowledge and confidence. Our team has extensive experience advising clients on surveys suited to all property types. Contact us today to discuss your needs.