You don’t want to be like the person who bought a house only to have it condemned by the local council a few days after the sale. This man lost the property and still had to pay for the demolition. While extreme cases like this don’t happen every day, having peace of mind on your real estate purchases and investment is very important. That’s why you need a surveyor to help you survey the property of your choice if you’re in the market for a new property.

Building Survey & Homebuyer Report

You can either choose to get a homebuyer report or a full structural survey.

Both survey types will help you uncover property defects and other issues of concern. These property defects include;

  • Timber/Damp testing to check for damp problems
  • Subsidence inspection to identify signs of subsidence
  • Infestations Identification,
  • Asbestos, etc

A homebuyer report typically starts from £330. The building survey, on the other hand, is more thorough and costs a lot more. But aside from the price difference between both surveys, there are several other differences that may influence your choice of going with a full structural survey or a homebuyer report.

Homebuyer Report: A Brief Overview

If you need a general review of a property that appears to be in a relatively nice condition or below 40 to 50 years old, you’ll be fine with a homebuyer’s report.

The surveyor, in this case, will conduct a visual inspection to;

  • Highlight potential concerns in detail
  • Provide information on the property’s condition
  • Identify urgent works and decisions that should be made before signing the contract
  • Get an idea of whether the property is reasonably priced, and
  • Determine whether to proceed or walk away from the purchase, etc.

Building Survey: A Brief Overview

The Building Survey is also known as the Full Structural Survey. Aside from being costlier than a homebuyer report, the builder survey is far more comprehensive and thorough.

If you’re looking at older, pre-1960 homes, rundown properties, altered or unusual buildings, then you need a full structural survey. This is also useful if you have plans for future works and alterations. While this survey is more thorough, it’s still non-invasive. That means your surveyor won’t knock holes through the wall or other things like that.

Full structural surveys are carried out to;

  • Provide details of the construction;
  • Access insulation, damp-proofing, drainage, etc;
  • Highlight the materials used in the construction;
  • Highlight all major and minor structural concerns;
  • Highlight major and minor defects and their implications;
  • Provide an overview and estimate of the potential cost of repairs;
  • Provide recommendation for other specialist inspections, etc

Homebuyer Report Vs Building Survey

The major difference between both of these survey types is the fact that the building survey provides a more comprehensive outlook on the property.

We’ve outlined some of the major differences between a homebuyer report and full structural survey in the table below;



Provides a general overview of properties Provides a more detailed and comprehensive review of real estate properties
Best for bungalows, flats, and post-1960 constructions. Best for larger properties, rundown buildings, unique or altered constructions, pre-1960 homes, and plans for future alterations.
Includes market valuation May not include market valuation unless requested.
It’s a visual inspection carried out to highlight potential concerns. It is a full structural survey that is more thorough and is the highest standard of survey you can get for any property.

Finding a Surveyor

While you may get recommendations from friends and colleagues, you can also visit the RICS website to find credible and reputable surveyors in your area. Having peace of mind on your property is far better than paying huge costs to settle unexpected damages and defects.

While you’re not legally obligated to do this, surveying your property of interest is no doubt one of the smartest decisions you can make if you want to get the best out of your real estate investments. The cost of hiring a professional surveyor is always going to be more than worth it in the long run.