Property Surveys Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We know you may have a lot of questions about property surveys. To help you out we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions. If reading our property survey FAQs doesn’t help you, please get in touch: 0800 038 7007.

How is a Home Condition Survey carried out?

The surveyor will inspect the roof structure from inside the roof space where it is safe to access and move around the roof space, but will not lift any insulation material or move stored goods or other contents.

The surveyor will check for damp in vulnerable areas using a moisture meter and examine floor surfaces and under floor voids, (but will not move furniture or floor coverings to do so).

The surveyor will inspect roofs, chimneys and other outside surfaces from ground level within the boundaries of the property with the aid of binoculars, or from neighbouring public property, or using a ladder where it is safe to do so and the height is no more than 3m above a flat surface.

If the surveyor is concerned about any element, the report will tell you about any further investigations that are needed. The surveyor does not provide quotes on the cost of any work to correct defects or comment on how repairs should be carried out.

What are the limitations to a Home Condition Report?

When the property is inspected it does not belong to you, the client, but to the seller, so the inspection is visual and noninvasive. This means that inside the surveyor does not take up carpets, floor coverings or floorboards, move heavy
furniture or remove contents of cupboards. Also, the surveyor does not remove secured panels or undo electrical fittings.

The surveyor will state at the start of sections D, E and F of the report if it was not possible to inspect any parts of the home that are normally reported on.

Sensitivity to noise is very subjective so the surveyor will not comment on sound insulation or noise of any sort.

Where there is any risk of damaging the fabric of the property, the surveyor will limit the inspection accordingly but will note this in the report.

What is covered in a Home Condition Survey?

Under the Money Laundering Regulations your Best Value Conveyancing solicitor will have to obtain details of your identity to safeguard against money laundering and mortgage fraud. This is a legal requirement.

What is SAVA and why is it important for surveyors?

SAVA stands for Surveyors and Valuers Association.

All surveyors who offer the SAVA Home Condition Survey must be members of SAVA. All surveyors with Best Value Surveys are members.

To join SAVA, the surveyor must demonstrate they hold the Home Inspector Diploma or equivalent; have a valid Criminal Records check and must also pass other stringent background checks to ensure their suitability for this important role.

Surveyors and Valuers Accreditation (SAVA) grew out of the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors (RICS), beginning in 1999 as an accreditation scheme for residential Chartered Surveyors offering the Homebuyer Survey and Valuation report. SAVA is now working with Phil Parnham and Chris Rispin on this qualification, who are well known and respected in the residential surveying profession.

Once they are members, surveyors are regularly audited, properly insured and their work is subject to a robust consumer redress scheme.

Should I have a survey?

We would recommend that you have a survey, as well as an obligatory mortgage valuation, which is done on behalf of your mortgage lender to confirm for them that the property is worth what you are paying for it, but will not give you information about any defects or structural issues with the property.

A SAVA Home Condition Survey will go into greater detail. Our surveyors through Best Value Surveys are SAVA members and are qualified, with experience in your area.

What should I arrange first: the property survey or my conveyancing solicitor?

It’s best to arrange your conveyancing solicitor and property survey around the same time, as the survey happens very early on at the start of the process. Though the survey is entirely separate to the conveyancing process, your solicitor may use the details in the report throughout. Your solicitor will also advise you about ordering further reports into areas which come back with concerns on the report.

You can get a free, fixed fee quote for your purchase conveyancing through Best Value Conveyancing. Click here for a conveyancing quote.

If you have any questions or queries about any aspect of buying a house and organising a property survey which have not been answered in our Property Survey FAQs, a member of the Best Value Surveys team will be pleased to advise you. Call 0800 038 7007 for more information.