The Value of a Survey

Latest Land Registry figures show that the average house price in Helston is now £210,878.00.  Would you spend that amount of money on a property without some assurance that it is in reasonable condition and worth that amount?  You would be surprised at how many people do.

At Borlase and Company, our advice to buyers is that a survey should always be carried out before exchange of contracts.  A survey can reveal defects in the property and identify repair works that need to be carried out either in the short or long term.  If you are buying with a mortgage, you may think that you do not need a survey because the lender will be doing one but you would be wrong.  The lender will only carry out a valuation, not a survey and is really only concerned with ensuring that the property is worth at least the amount being loaned against it.  Crucially, the valuation is carried out purely for the lender’s benefit and not yours.

There are two main types of survey – a homebuyer’s survey and valuation and a buildings survey.  For properties that are very old, in conservation areas, in obviously poor condition or with extensive alterations, a buildings survey would be appropriate but for most properties, a homebuyer’s survey will be sufficient.  This will include:-

  • The general condition of the property;
  • Any significant defects which may affect its value;
  • Any problems requiring specialist inspection, including damp or timber infestation;
  • The estimated rebuild cost for insurance purposes;
  • The open market value of the property.

No doubt the reason why many people choose not to have a survey carried out is to save on costs but this can turn out to be a very false economy.  If you discover a problem after you have bought the property, you will have no claim against the seller.  Whereas if you are aware of the problem before contracts are exchanged, you then have the opportunity of establishing the likely cost of putting it right and, if appropriate, you might be able to renegotiate the purchase price to consider this.  Therefore, the cost of a survey can be money very well spent.

For further advice about surveys or how to find a surveyor in your local area, visit the website of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors at


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