Reside Mortgages

Choosing the Right Property Survey: A Buyer’s Guide.

Buying a property can be a thrilling yet nerve wracking experience, especially when it comes to understanding its condition. One crucial step in this journey is selecting the appropriate level of survey. In the UK, there are typically three levels: Level 1 (Valuation Report), Level 2 (The Home Buyer Report), and Level 3 (Building Survey or Full Structural Survey).


But which one should you choose?


  1. Level 1 (The Valuation Report or Mortgage Valuation):


What is it? This is the most basic survey, providing a general overview of the property’s condition and giving a present day market valuation. 


When is it applicable? It’s suitable for relatively new or recently built properties that are in good condition. For instance, if you’re purchasing a modern apartment in a newly developed area, a Level 1 Survey might suffice.


Cost: Level 1 Surveys are usually the cheapest option, making them attractive for those on a tight budget. However, they won’t provide enough detail for older properties or those with potential issues lurking beneath the surface.


  1. Level 2 (The Home Buyer Report):


What is it? This mid-level survey offers a more detailed inspection than the Level 1 Valuation Report, including an assessment of visible defects and potential problems.


When is it applicable? It’s suitable for most types of properties, especially those that are relatively modern or of standard construction. For example, if you’re buying a mid-century terraced house, a Level 2 Survey could help identify any issues with the roof, walls or plumbing.


Cost: Level 2 Surveys are more expensive than Level 1 Surveys but provide a more comprehensive evaluation. The added cost may be worthwhile for peace of mind, especially for properties with a bit of age.


  1. Level 3 (Full Structural or Building Survey):


What is it? This is the most comprehensive survey, offering a thorough inspection of the property’s structure and condition, including advice on necessary repairs.


When is it applicable? It’s recommended for older properties, listed buildings, or those with unusual features. Suppose you’re considering purchasing a historic cottage or a converted barn. In that case, a Level 3 Survey can uncover hidden issues such as damp, subsidence or structural defects.


Cost: Level 3 Building Surveys are the most expensive option but provide the most detailed information. While the upfront cost may seem high, it could potentially save you from costly surprises down the line.


When deciding on the level of survey, it’s essential to consider not only the upfront cost but also the potential savings in the long run. Investing in a more thorough survey upfront could prevent expensive repairs or renovations later on. Ultimately, choosing the right survey is a crucial part of the house purchasing journey, ensuring you make an informed decision about your new home. Plus, it could be possible to renegotiate on the purchase price should the Survey uncover anything. 


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