Who would like a jargon-free homebuyer’s property survey?

If you have bought a house before you will have seen a property survey, but this document can be confusing. It can even cause some buyers to walk away from properties out of fear, and others to purchase a property with serious faults.  It can sometimes be difficult to understand the terminology to determine whether an issue will be something of a money pit or an easy fix.  This is why we welcome the news that the current homebuyers report could soon be replaced by a jargon-free version.

One of the main issues is buyers not understanding that there are large differences in the checks that are undertaken across the different types of surveys offered by surveyors.  People assume that the survey undertaken by their mortgage lender will inform them of any major issues with their property, when in reality it is simply a check on the financial viability of the property against which they are lending you the money.

A mortgage survey is not a check of a property’s structure, yet this misassumption means that some buyers purchase a property without any real checks being undertaken by an actual surveyor.

It is important that as a buyer you understand what checks will be undertaken as part of each of the different surveys offered by a professional surveyor.  We would always recommend that you use a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)


Speaking to Telegraph Money, Tom Littler from RICS stated that, “The current system is too fragmented.  We perceive that there could be confusion among the homebuying public. The whole idea is to improve the product that a member of the public could receive from a house surveyor.”

A condition report is often the lowest level of survey offered by a surveyor, and it will highlight any major issues.  This survey is often used for newer homes.  But for a more thorough check of the home you are looking to purchase, you should opt for a homebuyer’s report, yet this too is limited. 

The building survey is the most comprehensive option; with this, as they will check behind walls, look in the loft, and lift floorboards. This is commonly used for older, period, and unusual homes.

“When we talk about homebuyer reports, full structural surveys, it’s all just more jargon in a world full of jargon. Customers can go word-blind. They lose faith and switch off,” said mortgage broker Martin Stewart of London Money, who hopes that the new homebuyers report will prevent customers being confused by using simpler language.

If you’re in the process of buying a property and would like advice on the differences between the surveys on offer then please contact your local branch of Bidmead Cook.