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How Long Does a Survey Take on a House?

Martha Lott

Written by

18th Nov 2022 (Last updated on 24th Nov 2022) 5 minute read

A property survey is a vital part of the buying process. It’ll provide you with important information on the property’s condition before you commit to buying it. The length of time your survey takes will vary depending on the survey type and accessibility of the property.

In this article, we look at how long a survey takes on a house, how to speed up the process and what to do once you have the results.

This article will cover the following:
  1. How Long Do Property Surveys Take?
  2. Types of Survey and How Long They Take
  3. When Will I Receive My Survey Report?
  4. How to Speed up the Process?
  5. When Shall I Get a Property Survey?
  6. What Happens Once I’ve Got Results?
  7. What Can Fail a House Survey?
  8. Who Needs to See the Results?
  9. Does Mortgage Lender Carry out a Survey?

How Long Do Property Surveys Take?

A property survey can take anywhere between 2-8 hours. The type of survey and property type will determine how long the survey will last. How long a property survey takes will depend on:

  • The seller’s availability - Most of the time, sellers will still be living in the property you plan to buy when it’s time for a property survey. You’ll have to arrange a date for the survey that is suitable for the seller.
  • The surveyor’s availability - The surveyor will have to be available on your desired date. This is why it’s important to book your survey early on.
  • Blocked access in the property - On the day, the surveyor will not examine anything that has blocked access. Talk to the seller via your estate agent and the surveyor to organise easy access.

Types of Survey and How Long They Take

The type of house survey and property type will determine how long your survey will take. Below we’ve listed the main surveys and how long they’ll take to complete.

How Long Does a Level 1 Survey Take?

How Long Does a Level 2 Survey Take?

  • A Level 2 HomeBuyers Report will take 2-4 hours to complete. It can take longer if there are any areas your surveyor is having trouble accessing.

      How Long Does a Level 3 Survey Take?

      • A Level 3 Building Survey is the most in-depth survey available and is suited for older or unique properties. This survey can take anywhere between 4 to 8 hours depending on the size and condition of the property.

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        When Will I Receive My Survey Report?

        You can expect your survey report to be returned to you within 3-7 working days. This is usually sent via email from the surveyor who carried out your property survey.

        If you’ve had a Level 3 survey, also known as a full structural survey, this could take longer depending on the condition of the property.

        If your surveyor has a backlog of clients, then receiving the results might take even longer. Find out from your surveyor an expected timescale to receive survey results.

        If you’re using a surveyor recommended by your mortgage broker or lender, confirm with the surveyor so they can return the results to you directly.

        How to Speed up the Process?

        There are certain steps you can take to speed up the surveying process.

        Book survey in advance - Book your property survey in advance to avoid delaying the conveyancing process. Once you’ve had an offer accepted, you’ll need to get a property survey before you can exchange contracts.

        Comparison websites - Using comparison websites like Compare My Move to compare surveying quotes will help save you time finding a surveyor. We can connect you with up to 5 chartered surveyors so you can compare prices and surveys.

        Communicate with estate agent and seller - On the day of the survey, your surveyor will get the keys to the property from the estate agent and liaise with the seller. Keep your estate agent updated with your property survey planning.

        Ask surveyor to look at areas - All surveys are non-intrusive and surveyors have a checklist of things to look at. You’ll need to get written approval from the seller so the surveyor can access any requested areas.

        Deal directly with the surveyor - Sometimes buyers will use a surveyor recommended by their estate agent or mortgage broker. If you hire and deal directly with a surveyor, you’re cutting out the ‘middleman’.

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        When Shall I Get a Property Survey?

        You’ll need to get a survey once your offer has been accepted and before you exchange contracts. If you got a property survey after you exchange contracts, you wouldn’t be able to easily pull out of the sale without costly bills.

        What Happens Once I’ve Got Results?

        Depending on the results of the survey, you have to make a decision if you want to continue with the purchase or pull out. If you’re happy with the results of the survey, the conveyancing process will continue.

        If you receive negative results:

        • Ask Seller to Fix Issues - You can ask the seller if they’re willing to fix the issues prior to exchanging contracts.
        • Negotiate Offer - If your survey results highlight damage or repair work, you can negotiate your original offer with the seller.
        • Further Surveys - Your surveyor might suggest further surveys if issues are found. You’ll have to decide if you want to pay for this and await the results.
        • Pull out of Sale - If the results are damaging, you still have the option to pull out of the property sale (if prior to exchange of contracts).

        To learn more, read what happens after a survey on a house.

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        What Can Fail a House Survey?

        A house survey can’t technically fail, but it can produce negative results. If your survey uncovers structural damage or costly repairs, you might want to re-think your purchase. We’ve listed the common issues found in a house survey:

        • Structural damage
        • Damp
        • Subsidence
        • Damaged roof
        • Lack of certification for tests
        • Lack of smoke or carbon monoxide alarms

        Who Needs to See the Results?

        If you’re buying with a mortgage, your mortgage lender will likely want to see a copy of the survey results. This is to reassure them that their loan to you is at risk.

        The seller doesn’t have a legal right to see the survey results. This is entirely up to the buyer if they want to disclose the results. If you’re buying a house in Scotland, the seller is responsible for organising the Home Report.

        Does Mortgage Lender Carry out a Survey?

        Your mortgage lender will carry out a mortgage valuation on the property you plan to buy. This isn’t a property survey and usually isn’t a physical valuation. Mortgage lenders will need to carry this out to determine that the property is worth what you say it is.

        Martha Lott

        Written by Martha Lott

        Having guest authored for many property websites, Martha now researches and writes articles for everything moving house related, from remortgages to conveyancing costs.

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