When buying a house you already have a lot to pay out, so the thought of paying for something else on top of that can seem rather annoying. Yet having a survey carried out on a property can be invaluable as it can highlight things that would otherwise remain hidden, as well as those things that are visible but perhaps not to the untrained eye.

What surveys are available?

There are many different types of surveys available and it can be quite confusing trying to decide which is right for you.

Homebuyers survey - If your property appears to be in a reasonably good condition then this survey might be a good one to go for. This will include a property valuation and will check for any major faults and repairs needed to the property, giving an average repair cost too.

Full structural survey - This is the most in-depth survey you can have and is often referred to as a ‘building survey’. It’s common for older properties or listed properties with extensions to have a full structural survey as it checks for major and minor faults, along with estimated repair costs. This gives you the ability to challenge anything with the buyer from a legal perspective.

Condition Reports - These are common for fairly new build properties and is a good way to find out what condition the property is in. It doesn’t include any advice or recommendations for repair or maintenance work.

Mortgage Valuation - This often comes as a free service that most lenders will offer. However, it is purely a valuation of the property for the purposes of the mortgage lender. To be clear, this isn’t a survey and you often won’t even receive a copy of the report at the end.

Each survey comes with a different fee, the more in-depth costing the most money, and these costs can vary between each lender or local surveying firm.


Once your offer has been accepted, you’ll need to find yourself a solicitor to take care of the legalities involved with buying a property.

The estate agency might recommend a solicitor to you, as may your friends and family. You could opt to go with someone local to your area, but you aren’t limited to staying local. The work carried out by solicitors can be conducted anywhere, as long as you can communicate via email and telephone.

What work will the solicitor do?

  1. Contact the seller's solicitor

They’ll contact the seller's solicitor who will give them a draft contract and other items requested, which usually includes fixtures and fittings.

  1. Searches

More often than not, your solicitor will carry out the conveyancing process too. This includes environmental searches, as well as any other searches and enquiries with the local authority. This can help to reveal any planning issues affecting the property. Your solicitor/conveyancer will carry out duties such as flooding, mining and contaminated land searches, if necessary.

  1. Sign the contract

Your solicitor will report back to you on all of the investigations that they’ve made and, if you’re happy to proceed with the purchase, they’ll finalise the terms of the contract and explain these to you.

  1. Exchange contracts

You’ll pay your deposit to your solicitor in order to exchange contracts on the purchase. Exchanging contracts with the seller’s solicitor means you’ve entered a legally binding contract to buy the property.

  1. Completion

Completion is the final stage in the conveyancing process when your solicitor…

  • Receives funds from the lender
  • Repays any existing mortgage or loan that may be a condition of your mortgage offer
  • Pays the stamp duty and any other fees due
  • Transfers the purchase funds to the seller's solicitor
  • Ensures the keys to the property are made available once completion takes place


Discover everything you need to know about the mortgage process in our helpful articles.

To talk through your financial situation with a professional mortgage adviser, you can get in touch with us. 

Important information

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend on your circumstances. The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.