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Frequently Asked Questions Some Questions and Answers about Surveys and our Chartered Surveying process.

I am buying a house and want to know which type of survey I should have?

Surveys are designed to give you the information you need to make an informed and sensible offer on your future home. You are advised to arrange a survey before buying a property - don’t just rely on a valuation.


A valuation is an inspection carried out on behalf of your mortgage lender to determine the terms of a mortgage offer. Your lender will probably ask you to pay for the valuation and will send you a copy of the report.

However, a valuation is not a survey. It is a limited inspection to identify problems that affect the security of your mortgage lenders loan. The property can have defects that are critical to a prospective buyer but are not of concern to the lender and therefore wont appear in a valuation report. That is why you should not just rely on the information provided by a valuation when deciding whether or not to purchase property.


You are recommended to have a survey carried out on the property you intend to buy and carefully consider its conclusions before entering into a contract. Depending on the seriousness of any defects and cost of necessary repair work, you could try to renegotiate the purchase price to reflect the cost of repairs or decide not to purchase the property at all.

There are two main types of survey :

RICS Home Buyer Report (HBR)

This is a mid-priced, mid-range Level 2 survey which uses a standard form to focus on urgent and significant matters. It includes a condition rating on the main elements of construction, e.g. roof, walls, services etc..

It is suitable for properties built after 1900 of conventional construction and in reasonable condition. It allows you to make a reasoned and informed judgement on whether to proceed with purchase, assess if the property is a reasonable purchase at the agreed price and be clear as to decisions and actions which need to be taken before contracts are exchanged.

A valuation is an integral part of the survey.

Residential Building Survey

This is a detailed and comprehensive report which can be tailor-made to suit your needs.

It is suitable for all properties but particularly recommended for those built before 1900, Listed Buildings of any age constructed in an unusual way and properties which have been renovated or which you are planning to alter or renovate.

It provides you with a report detailing the condition and construction of the property. It gives you technical advice by highlighting the implications of defects and remedial action or further investigation needed by specialists.

A valuation can be included if required.

We also offer other types of survey, namely:

  • Home Condition Report (Level 2) - similar to a Homebuyers but excludes valuation
  • Single Defect Report - where a lender requires advice on a specific defect such as a crack or bulging in a wall
  • Structure-only Report which covers the main elements of construction, namely: roof, walls, floors and damp check

What do you want to find out?

Before the survey, talk to your Surveyor about any specific information you would like to know, for example, whether or not it would be feasible to make any structural alterations. You should also mention specific areas for investigation, such as testing the drains or checking for dampness or woodworm. If your Surveyor is not qualified to do this, he should be able to arrange for another specialist to do so.

Make sure you fully understand what is and isn't included in the survey. Read the terms and conditions carefully and double check with your Surveyor if you are unclear about anything.

Why should you consult an RICS Surveyor?

  • RICS members are qualified and experienced professionals
  • They offer independent, impartial advice.
  • RICS members who offer surveying services to the public must have Professional Indemnity insurance. If you have a valid claim against a Chartered Surveyor, that person or their firm will be covered by an appropriate policy.
  • All Chartered Surveyors follow strict rules of conduct which are enforced by the RICS.

How much will the survey cost?

The cost will depend on what type of survey you need. Prices will differ according to the type, size, age and value of the property.

FAQs about surveys - Bolton Marshall Chartered Surveyors

Relevant Contacts

Bolton Marshall is part of Longden & Cook Real Estate Limited Regulated by RICS.
Registered in England and Wales No. 04623528. Registered Office: Victoria Buildings, 9-13 Silver Street, Bury, Lancashire BL9 0EU.
Website: Rochdale Online