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Buyer inspections and surveys

Completion The Guild 13th April 2017

Once you have received and accepted an offer, your property may be subject to inspections for your buyer to proceed with the sale. There are three main types of property inspection:

Mortgage Valuation Report

The buyer's lender may send a valuer to assess how much your property is worth and that it is in reasonable condition. This isn’t designed to highlight any defects which aren’t immediately obvious. So, missing tiles from the roof is likely to be picked up, but does not include any investigations into whether there is a problem with damp, for example.

Homebuyers Survey

The homebuyers survey or report (the title depends on which company you use), will establish whether a property is fit for sale. It will also identify whether there is any major repair work required.
What surveyors look for:

  • Holes
  • Damp
  • Insulation problems
  • Crumbling wood and damage to timbers
  • Water pressures
  • Cracks


The survey often impacts the market value of the property and the initial offer that the buyer has made is ‘subject to contract’. This means the price may be renegotiated after the survey.

As the seller, you can commission a survey on your own property before putting it on the market. This can reduce the risk of renegotiation subject to the report, or potentially a fall-through. If you know any issues ahead of the point of sale, you can correct them, or set the price accordingly.

Once the survey has been completed you will either:

1.    Proceed with the sale if the survey only resulted in minor concerns
2.    Renegotiate the asking price
3.    Stop the sale

Your estate agent will be able to give you more advice on this process.

Structural Survey

A Building or Structural Survey is the most comprehensive inspection. A structural engineer or surveyor will actively search for potential problems and building defects. In particular, an older building may benefit from this kind of survey.

For example, things which are included in the inspection:

  • Evidence of subsidence
  • Evidence of woodworm
  • Hazardous material, such as asbestos
  • Altered or removed walls
  • Whether the necessary planning permission is in place for any DIY improvements


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