Who Organises a Survey When Buying a House?

Home Who Organises a Survey When Buying a House?
Sunny Avenue
Mortgages Sunny Avenue
13 Feb 2024

Who organises a survey when buying a house? It's a question many first-time buyers will be wondering. In England, the answer technically is that it is the responsibility of the purchaser to organise a survey.

However, you may not need to get more involved than simply paying a fee with your lender. It depends on several relevant factors such as, the type of survey required, what your lender insists on and whether the property is a new build, or not.

In this insight, we tackle the different options and provide an idea of what to expect when buying a home.

Key Takeaways

  • In England and Wales, it's the buyer's responsibility to organise a house survey. This entails selecting the type of survey needed and paying for it, although the lender may assist in appointing a surveyor for an extra fee. In Scotland, sellers are responsible for providing a property survey.
  • Surveys are crucial because they act like health check-ups for houses, uncovering hidden issues that might not be visible during a regular viewing. For first-time buyers, understanding the significance of surveys helps them grasp the importance of checking the property thoroughly before making a big decision.
  • It's essential to distinguish between house surveys and mortgage valuations. While valuations determine the property's worth for loan purposes, surveys provide comprehensive inspections, identifying structural problems and necessary repairs. First-time buyers need to know this to ensure they're getting the right information about the property's condition.
  • There are various types of house surveys available, each suited to different property types and conditions. It's advisable to arrange a survey as soon as an offer is accepted to allow time for the inspection before contracts are exchanged. Even for new builds, surveys are recommended to verify quality, warranty coverage, and provide peace of mind.

Who Organises A Survey When Buying a House?

When buying a house, the survey is organised by the buyer of the property. This can be a simple mortgage valuation through a lender or a builder inspecting report which can be arranged with an approved surveyor. In many cases, your lender can help you to appoint a surveyor, but this will come at an additional fee.

In Scotland, it is the responsibility of the seller to provide a property survey. 

Why Organise A Survey?

Buying a home is a big deal for anyone. It's exciting to think about having your own place. But before you get too caught up in the excitement, it's really important to think about organising a survey for the house you want to buy.

A survey is like a check-up for the house. It helps you find out if there are any problems with the house that you can't see just by looking around. Things like hidden damage or issues with the structure of the house. Knowing about these problems before you buy can save you a lot of trouble and money later on.

It's all about making sure you understand how important it is to check out the house properly before they make such a big decision

House Surveys vs Mortgage Valuations

It's important to understand the difference between a house survey and a mortgage valuation. A mortgage valuation is arranged by the lender to assess the value of the property for loan purposes. It is not a detailed inspection of the property's condition and should not be mistaken for a house survey.

On the other hand, a house survey is a comprehensive inspection conducted by a qualified surveyor. It provides detailed information about the property's condition, including potential structural problems, signs of subsidence, and major repairs needed.

A house survey is essential for buyers to make informed decisions and negotiate the purchase price if necessary.

Types of House Surveys

There are various types of house surveys available, depending on the level of detail required. Here are the main types of house surveys:

  • Condition Report: This is the most basic survey and provides an overview of the property's condition. It highlights any defects or risks but does not include advice or valuation.

  • HomeBuyer's Report: Also known as a Homebuyers Report, this survey is more detailed but non-intrusive. It typically includes a valuation and covers the property's major elements and potential issues.

  • Building Survey: A building survey is the most comprehensive option and is recommended for older properties or those in poor condition. It includes a thorough inspection of the property, including attics, walls, floors, and ceilings, and provides advice on repairs and estimated costs.

It's important to choose the most suitable survey based on the age, condition, and type of property. A qualified surveyor can advise on the best survey option for your specific needs.

When to Arrange a House Survey

It's advisable to arrange a house survey as soon as your offer on a property has been accepted. This allows sufficient time for the surveyor to visit the property and prepare the report before the exchange of contracts.

A prompt survey can help identify any potential issues that may affect the value of the property or the decision to proceed with the purchase.

Do I Need A Survey When Buying a New-Build House?

Yes, even if the property is a new build, it's still important to consider having a survey done. While new builds typically come with warranties and are constructed to modern building standards, there can still be issues that arise during or after construction. Some potential problems might not be immediately obvious to an untrained eye.

Here are a few reasons why you might still want to consider getting a survey for a new build property:

  • Quality Assurance: While new builds are generally constructed to high standards, mistakes can happen during the building process. A survey can help identify any construction defects or issues that need to be addressed by the developer before you finalise the purchase.

  • Warranty Verification: Most new build properties come with warranties, but it's essential to understand what is covered and for how long. A survey can help ensure that any defects covered by the warranty are identified and addressed promptly.

  • Peace of Mind: Buying a new build is a significant investment, and having a survey done can provide peace of mind by confirming that everything is as it should be with the property. It can also help you plan for any maintenance or repairs that might be needed in the future.

Ultimately, while it may seem unnecessary to survey a new build property, it's a precautionary measure that can save you time, money, and stress in the long run by ensuring that you're fully aware of the condition of the property you're purchasing.

Finding a Qualified Surveyor

When it comes to finding a surveyor, it's essential to choose a qualified professional who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). RICS membership ensures that the surveyor has met the industry standards and possesses the necessary expertise to conduct a thorough survey.

To find a suitable surveyor, consider the following factors:

  • Price: Compare quotes from different surveyors to ensure a fair price for the services provided.

  • Chemistry: Look for a surveyor with whom you feel comfortable communicating and discussing any concerns or questions you may have.

  • Experience: Consider the surveyor's experience in conducting surveys for properties similar to the one you are purchasing.

  • Specialisms: If the property has specific features or issues, such as listed status or potential structural problems, ensure that the surveyor has expertise in those areas.

  • Communication: Check if the surveyor is willing to discuss the survey findings with you and address any concerns or questions you may have after receiving the report.

Requesting samples of past reports can also help you assess the surveyor's expertise and the quality of their work.

Who Pays for the Survey?

In England and Wales, the buyer is responsible for paying for the house survey. The cost of the survey can vary depending on the type of survey and the size of the property. It's important to consider the survey cost as part of your overall budget when purchasing a house.

In Scotland, the seller is responsible for organising and paying for the Home Report, which includes the survey. This report is made available to potential buyers before making an offer on the property.

You may share a copy of the report with the seller, but you are under no obligation to do so. As the buyer, you are the owner of the report.

Do Solicitors Organise Surveys?

No, typically solicitors do not organise surveys. While solicitors play a crucial role in the conveyancing process by handling legal aspects of the property transaction, such as contracts, searches, and title deeds, they usually do not directly organise surveys.

Instead, it's the responsibility of the buyer, as mentioned earlier, to arrange and pay for a survey. However, solicitors may advise buyers on the importance of having a survey done and may recommend qualified surveyors to conduct the inspection. They may also coordinate with surveyors during the conveyancing process to ensure that any issues identified in the survey are appropriately addressed in the legal documentation.

Organising a Property Survey

In conclusion, when buying a house in the UK, it is the buyer's responsibility to arrange a house survey in England and Wales, while in Scotland, it is the seller's responsibility to provide a Home Report. Getting a house survey is essential to assess the property's condition, identify potential issues, and make informed decisions.

By choosing a qualified surveyor and conducting a thorough survey, buyers can minimise the risk of unexpected repair costs and ensure that the property is worth the investment. Remember, a house survey is an important step to protect your interests and make a well-informed purchase.


Stuart is an expert in Property, Money, Banking & Finance, having worked in retail and investment banking for 10+ years before founding Sunny Avenue. Stuart has spent his career studying finance. He holds qualifications in financial studies, mortgage advice & practice, banking operations, dealing & financial markets, derivatives, securities & investments.

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