House Survey Questions


Thankfully the Covid situation seems to have improved enough for local Government to allow the property sector to reopen again. So it is with great pleasure that we can announce that we will be open to provide surveys again from Monday the 22nd June.

I would like to thank you all for understanding that we had to close for a few months and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me by clicking on the "contact us" link. 

Kind Regards,

 Jeremy Brady

I’ve no doubt that if you’re at the stage of considering a house survey you’ll probably have lots of questions to ask before you decide on a survey type or indeed a surveyor.

We’ve all been there before, you feel you should know the answer to all those questions floating around in your head, but you’re really not sure. 

So where do you go to find the answers? 

Thankfully I’ve dealt with lots of people who’ve been in exactly the same position as you are now. So, I’ll try to cover some of the more common questions I get asked in this section.

If the question you have in your head isn’t listed below, don’t worry, get in touch and ask me and I’ll do my best to help.

Common house survey questions.

Common House Survey Questions:

  1. Which type of house survey should I get?
  2. I already have a mortgage report, do I still need a private report?
  3. How much does a survey cost?
  4. What areas do you cover?
  5. At what stage should I instruct you to carry out a survey?
  6. How quickly can you do the survey?
  7. Do you test the electricity and plumbing etc?
  8. Will you contact me prior to doing the survey?
  9. How do I instruct you to carry out a house survy?
  10. How quickly will I receive the survey report after you visit the property?
  11. What’s the difference between a mortgage report and an RICS survey?

House Survey Answers:

  • 2.  I already have a mortgage report, do I still need a private survey?
 - It's important to realise that a mortgage report is a very basic report (typically carried out in less than 30 minutes) to enable the bank to make a lending decision. As such, the restricted time scale means its really easy to miss things. As an example during a mortgage inspection the surveyor inspects the roof void from the access hatch only.

    The bank may allow you to see the mortgage report, but it is not carried out for you so you cannot rely on it (as you are considered to be a third party).

In contrast an RICS survey is carried out on your behalf and is a much more detailed report looking at each individual element of the property separately. (Typically a HomeBuyers report involves up to two or more hours in the property so it’s possible to carry out a much more thorough inspection. 

    The RICS advise that “on average new homebuyers spend £5,750” (ComRes research on behalf of RICS) on repairs after they’ve moved into their new home. Which could potentially have been avoided by getting a more detailed survey.

    While It’s easy for me to advise you to get a survey, I’m obviously a little biased. So my advice to you is to speak to your solicitor and ask them if they think you should get one. (I’ll be surprised if they say no). 

    Think about how much money you’re about to spend on buying your house. If you were spending that amount of money on a second hand car wouldn't you want it checked by a specialist first?
  • 3.  How much does a house survey cost?

 - Prices vary depending on the size of the property involved, but as a rough rule of thumb:

Condition Reports start around £250*
HomeBuyer Reports start around £350*.
Building Surveys start around £600*.

*NB prices are all-inclusive and there are no hidden extras. 

  •  4.  What areas do you cover?
 - Although the majority of my work is carried out in the greater Belfast area, I still do a lot of surveys around Newtownabbey and Lisburn etc.  I work within a 25 mile radius of Belfast including but not restricted to Newtownabbey, Antrim, Lisburn, Bangor, Ballynahinch, Downpatrick etc.
 Request a call back if you're not sure if I can survey your house or not and I'll let you know.
  • 5.  At what stage should I instruct you to carry out a survey?
 - There is no hard and fast rule as to when you should instruct your surveyor. Once you’ve found the house that you want to place an offer on you should probably instruct your surveyor as soon as possible. 
The reason I say this is because you’ll probably not want to put an offer in until you know if there are repairs required that you weren’t aware of and that may affect your offer price.

  • 6.  How quickly can you do the survey?
 - This is affected by how quickly you can return the ‘Clients Instruction to Proceed’ form. 

    After we have an initial chat I’ll send you out some information sheets explaining things, along with terms of engagement and an instruction to proceed form. 
Once you’ve had a chance to read through everything and are happy you would send me back a signed instruction to proceed.

    Typically I try to get into the house to perform the survey within 48 hours of receiving an instruction to proceed and aim to provide you with your report within another 48 hours.

However sometimes access can get delayed by vendors for one reason or another (which is why we try to be flexible with vendors by offering surveys outside of the typical working hours where we can, to try to accommodate people who work as best we can).

  • 7.  Do you test the electricity and plumbing etc?
 - Neither the RICS Condition report or the RICS HomeBuyer reports include tests on services. A Building Survey may sometimes include a test of services by way of an additional service. But testing services has to be carried out by specifically qualified trades people which is beyond the remit of a chartered surveyor.

I do perform a visual inspection of services and I will provide an opinion on condition and whether or not I would suggest a qualified expert should be instructed to test them.

  • 8.  Will you contact me prior to doing the survey?
 - I will always speak to you prior to going out to the property. It’s important to me to get an idea about what you intend to do to the property after purchase as this will help direct me during the house survey.

  • 9.  How do I instruct you to carry out a house survey?
 - It’s really simple to get me to carry out a survey on your behalf. 
The first step is to get in touch by clicking here or requesting a call back here. Initially I’ll have a chat with you to discuss your requirements and help you decide on the best type of report for your needs. Then I’ll send you out some paperwork which needs to be signed before I can carry out the survey (although I can email this to you in order to speed things up a little).

  • 10.  How quickly will I receive the survey report after you visit the property?
 - I try to get reports sent out to clients within 48 hours of inspecting the property where possible.

  • 11.  What’s the difference between a mortgage report and an RICS survey? - As mentioned in question 2 above a mortgage report is there purely to allow a lender to make a decision for mortgage purposes. As such they are typically carried out in 30 minutes or less. So there is a good chance that the surveyor won't have been in the house long enough to pick up on all the issues and they don't have to get into the roof void at all so if there are any issues in the roof there's a good chance they won't be spotted.


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I appreciate there are hundreds of different house survey questions that I could have covered in this section but I'm obviously constrained by space. However if you have a question regarding the survey process that you're concerned about why not ask it here and I'll do my best to answer it.

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