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What is a Property Survey?

Nicola Ryan

Written by

15th Nov 2022 (Last updated on 24th Nov 2022) 5 minute read

A property survey is a report that highlights any defects or issues in the property and surrounding area. There are several property survey options depending on how detailed you want the report to be. Property surveys are not a legal requirement, but it is advised that you get one when purchasing a property. This is because they can save you thousands in the long run if any problems are highlighted.

In this guide, we’ll be taking you through everything you need to know about property surveys. You’ll be able to make an informed decision about which type of survey is the best one for you.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Why Do I Need a Property Survey?
  2. What Survey Do I Need?
  3. Home Report in Scotland
  4. Is a Mortgage Valuation a Survey?
  5. What Survey do I need for a New Build?
  6. House Survey Costs by Type
  7. How to Find a Surveyor

Why Do I Need a Property Survey?

Property surveys are important because they flag issues in the property that could cost thousands to repair in the future. The survey is completed before the exchange of contracts. This means that the transaction is not yet legally binding. Therefore, the buyer can pull out of the transaction or renegotiate their offer if faced with negative survey results.

Surveys are not a mandatory expense for buyers. However, it is highly recommended that all home buyers get one. This is especially important for those looking to buy an older property, properties with non-standard construction, or properties in poor condition.

What Survey Do I Need?

There are different types of property surveys that you can choose from. The right survey for you is dictated by the size of the property, its market value, and the condition of the property.

Here are the main types of property surveys that you should consider:

Level 1 Condition Report

The most basic survey is the Level 1 Condition Report. This survey highlights any structural problems but does not delve into great detail. This survey is best for new homes and properties in good condition.

Based on the national UK house price average of £277,000, a Level 1 Condition Report costs approximately £380.

Level 2 HomeBuyer Report

The Level 2 HomeBuyer Report is an intermediate survey that will provide more detail and depth than the Condition Report. It will also discuss other issues that can affect the value of the property as well as ongoing maintenance. This survey is best for properties less than 50 years old and properties with standard construction.

Based on the national UK house price average of £277,000, a Level 2 HomeBuyer Report costs approximately £500.

Level 3 Building Survey

The Level 3 Building Survey is the most detailed and concise report on offer. This survey will delve into any issues and defects. It will also discuss potential solutions, repair suggestions, and repair cost estimates. The surveyor will inspect the entire property, including areas that are difficult to get to. This survey is best suited for older homes and properties with non-standard construction and are the survey that takes the longest.

Based on the national UK house price average of £277,000, a Level 3 Building Survey costs approximately £800.

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Home Report in Scotland

The property survey in Scotland is known as the Home Report and is a legal requirement. It is paid for by the seller and is available for all prospective buyers to read through. Costing an average of £585 and £820, the Home Report is organised by the seller’s estate agent.

There are three components that make up the Home Report. These are:

  • Single Survey
  • Energy Report (which includes an EPC certificate)
  • Property Questionaire

Is a Mortgage Valuation a Survey?

A Mortgage Valuation is not a structural property survey. Your mortgage lender will hire a property surveyor to conduct a valuation in order to determine how much you can borrow from them. The Mortgage Valuation is a quick inspection lasting between 15 and 30 minutes. The surveyor will inspect the exterior of the property from a distance. The surveyor must be regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

On average, a Mortgage Valuation costs between £150 and £1,500, depending on the value of the property. Some lenders may not charge the buyer this fee and will include it in the package. However, some lenders will request that the buyer foots the bill.

In comparison, structural property surveys delve into further detail about the property itself. They involve an inspection of the interior and will highlight any issues that could potentially cause damage. Therefore, the Mortgage Valuation cannot be used as a replacement for a structural property survey.

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What Survey do I need for a New Build?

If you are purchasing a new build, a snagging survey is the best option. Snagging surveys are checklists that ensure the house is suitable and that any issues are flagged before you move in. This can include incomplete paintwork or any unfinished job.

Snagging surveys cost between £300 and £600 on average and are dependent on the property value. Therefore, the higher the property value, the more expensive the survey will be.

House Survey Costs by Type

Property surveys vary in cost depending on which type of survey you choose and the property value.

Here are the average survey costs that you need to be aware of:

Property ValueRICS ValuationLevel 1 Survey
Level 2 Survey
Level 3 Survey
Up to £100,000
£100,001 to £200,000
£200,001 to £300,000
£300,001 to 400,000
£400,001 to £500,000
£500,001 to £600,000
£600,001 to £700,000
£700,001 to £800,000
£800,001 to £900,000
£900,001 to £1,000,000

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How to Find a Surveyor

There are several options for finding the right surveyor for you. Regardless of what type of survey you want, you’ll be able to find a surveyor who is ready to help you with your property transaction. Here are the best ways to find a surveyor:

Compare My Move

Finding a surveyor is easy with Compare My Move. We can connect you with up to 6 regulated surveyors, allowing you to compare quotes and save money on your surveying fees. Our surveyors offer the Valuation Report, the Level 1 Condition Report, the Level 2 Homebuyers Report, and the Level 3 Building Survey.


If you want to hire a local surveyor, asking family members and friends for their recommendations is a great starting point. If you know someone who has moved recently and required a surveyor, you can hear their first-hand experience.


Before you hire your surveyor, make sure that you read plenty of reviews online before proceeding. This will ensure that you have a realistic idea of what to expect from your surveyor and the services that they offer. Reviews are written by real customers. Therefore, this is one of the best ways to get an indication of the surveyor’s standards.

Nicola Ryan

Written by Nicola Ryan

Nicola focusses on all things moving house at Compare My Move where she writes articles for the advice centre, guiding users through everything they need to know about moving house.

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