When You're Nervous About House Survey Results

What to Expect When You’re Nervous About House Survey Results

Are you nervous about a house survey? It’s a common concern for many homebuyers fearing hidden defects or costly repairs. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive directly into what might be triggering your anxiety, what issues could pop up, and how you can prepare for and respond to the survey results. Expect no fluff, just practical advice and real-life examples, to help you approach your house survey with confidence and clarity.

Key Takeaways

  • A house survey is essential, providing a comprehensive assessment of a property’s condition and revealing potential problems that could affect a buyer’s decision or necessitate future repairs.
  • Buyers should prepare for common issues a survey may identify, such as structural problems, dampness, and outdated systems, and be ready to negotiate or address these issues with the seller.
  • Expert advice from chartered surveyors, structural engineers, or damp specialists is crucial for understanding the severity of survey findings and for informed decision-making, especially regarding financial planning and potential mortgage adjustments.

Understanding Your House Survey Anxiety

As you near the crucial stage of finalizing a property purchase, it’s natural to feel anxious. This is because the survey conducted on the house provides an impartial evaluation of your potential investment. The apprehension mainly arises from concerns that any issues uncovered during this process could complicate matters or affect your decision to buy.

The Role of a House Survey

A house survey is not a mere formality, but rather an important step in assessing the condition of a property. It offers a thorough evaluation and brings to light any major concerns that could potentially save you from future problems. The survey covers all aspects including structural integrity, dampness issues, and compliance with building regulations. Consider it your safety net, providing you with crucial information before making any commitments.

Common Concerns Among Homebuyers

For potential homebuyers, a multitude of concerns can arise. These include but are not limited to issues such as moisture build-up, outdated heating systems, the condition of roofs and electrical problems. More serious worries may involve coming across asbestos or discovering that any extensions or renovations made were not approved by building regulations.

Since these matters have the potential to greatly impact financial planning, it is crucial to directly address them with utmost importance.

Demystifying the House Survey Process

The process of conducting a house survey may seem complex, but it is actually quite straightforward. It involves a comprehensive evaluation of the property’s interior and exterior areas. The surveyor carefully inspects various aspects such as:

  • roof condition
  • gutter system
  • walls’ stability

To examine accessible internal spaces like attics and basements.

This assessment is carried out in a non-intrusive manner so that the property remains undisturbed during the surveying process.

Types of Surveys Available

There are multiple house surveys available, each designed for different types of properties. For conventional homes in decent shape, a homebuyer report (also called a basic survey or RICS Home Survey Level 1) is sufficient. If you require a more comprehensive inspection, the intermediate survey (RICS Home Survey Level 2) or even the thorough building survey (RICS Home Survey Level 3) may be suitable options to consider. Seeking guidance from professionals at the residential property surveyors association can help ensure that you select the appropriate type of survey for your specific needs and situation.

What Surveyors Look For

roof survey During a house survey, trained professionals thoroughly inspect the property from top to bottom. This includes conducting a full structural survey where they assess the condition of essential components such as walls, floors, and ceilings. They carefully examine both internal and external aspects of the building for potential issues like subsidence or roof problems.

One important aspect that is included in this process is checking documentation such as electrical installation condition reports and Gas Safety Records. These are crucial records that can indicate any safety concerns within the property. The absence of these documents may be noted by surveyors as possible issues during their assessment of its overall condition.

Preparing for Potential Survey Findings

Being well-prepared is vital when it comes to house surveys. It can help minimize stress and give a better understanding of the potential challenges ahead. While there may be upfront costs associated with a thorough survey, it is ultimately beneficial in the long term.

A comprehensive house survey goes beyond what is covered by Home Reports in Scotland and helps identify any expensive issues that may arise with a property, allowing for effective budget planning.

Anticipating Common House Survey Problems

During house surveys, there are certain common issues that are often identified. These include problems with dampness, roofing defects, general condition flaws, electrical concerns, and the absence of necessary safety measures such as smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. Another issue to look out for is the presence of invasive plants like Japanese Knotweed.

It should also be noted that more serious issues like infestations by wood-boring insects or dry rot can greatly affect not only the value but also the insurance prospects of a property being surveyed.

Setting Realistic Expectations

worried Having high hopes for a flawless property is normal, but it’s important to have realistic expectations. It’s essential to remember that all properties can encounter issues and the purpose of a property survey is to inform you about any potential problems. This knowledge can assist in reducing your worries over possible findings from the survey and aid you in making informed decisions.

When the Survey Uncovers Issues

If a survey reveals problems, do not panic. Instead, take the time to understand what issues have been identified and remember that just because there are problems does not automatically mean you should abandon your plans for purchasing the property. There are still options available such as requesting that the seller address and fix any concerns, negotiating a lower sale price based on these findings or deciding to back out of the purchase altogether.

Understanding the Severity of Issues

In the survey report, using traffic lights to show the severity of issues. Green signifies regular maintenance concerns, while orange indicates possible need for additional investigations and red highlights critical or urgent repairs necessary. This method can aid in comprehending how defects may impact your decision on purchasing and help with budget planning for potential repairs during the inspection process.

Strategies to Fix Survey Problems

When issues arise during a survey, there are multiple approaches you can take. One option is to negotiate with the seller in order to address and resolve any problems or potentially receive a discount on the sale price. It is crucially important that any agreed upon repairs are clearly stated in the purchase contract.

In cases where specific defects may require evaluation, it could be beneficial to seek an additional expert opinion from either a builder or specialist before moving forward with the transaction.

The Impact of a Bad House Survey on Your Purchase

When a house survey reveals serious issues, it can be a deal-breaker for some buyers and result in the sale falling through for about 10% of cases. A bad survey also provides an opportunity to negotiate the price with the seller. This allows buyers to factor in potential additional costs and make an informed assessment of the property’s true value based on the results of their survey.

Navigating Negotiations with Sellers

When a survey reveals major concerns and warning signs, it is important to renegotiate with the seller. This process involves determining the current market value of the property, estimating renovation expenses, and presenting a written report to either the estate agent or seller which outlines an adjusted asking price.

It should be noted that there is no set timeframe for renegotiation and its success cannot be guaranteed. It is crucial to approach this situation calmly with realistic expectations in mind.

Deciding Whether to Continue with the Purchase

Deciding whether to proceed with a purchase after receiving an unfavorable house survey can present challenges. If the seller is unwilling to address identified issues or if repair costs exceed your budget, you may need to consider withdrawing your offer.

Before making a final decision, seeking a second opinion from another expert for additional surveying could be beneficial. This would provide Evaluation of the concerns highlighted in the initial house survey.

Leveraging Expert Opinions

The expertise of professionals is valuable when interpreting the implications found in a survey. Specifically, mortgage brokers are essential in managing potential changes to loan terms or borrowing limits that may arise from the results of a survey.

Their guidance can assist you in understanding and considering the financial consequences revealed by the survey during your decision-making phase.

Consulting a Chartered Surveyor

It is beneficial to communicate with chartered surveyors after the completion of a survey as they can offer valuable insights into the detailed report and provide explanations about any identified issues. Their advanced technical expertise and effective communication skills make them essential consultants for discussing urgent defects or major problems that may have been discovered during the survey process.

When to Engage a Structural Engineer or Damp Specialist

When a survey report raises concerns that require investigation, it is advisable to seek guidance from a damp specialist or structural engineer. Enlisting the help of an experienced professional for a thorough inspection can offer more accurate insights into the issues identified in the survey report. This step is especially important when addressing major structural problems or subsidence, as repair expenses can be substantial.

Financial Considerations After a Survey

The process following a survey involves careful consideration of financial factors. An exact valuation from the survey is essential to avoid underinsurance and obtain an equitable mortgage deal. This data enables you to effectively plan your budget and make well-informed choices regarding your investment.

Budgeting for Repairs

It is important to make a budget for repair expenses after undergoing a house survey. This involves estimating the costs of common issues and collecting quotes from contractors who specialize in such repairs. While the actual costs may differ, having an estimate can assist with financial planning and anticipating unexpected expenditures that may arise during the process.

Dealing with Mortgage Valuation Adjustments

Effective management of mortgage valuation adjustments may involve exploring different mortgage options or adjusting the original application based on a revised property value. Seeking guidance from a fee-free mortgage broker can be helpful in navigating these situations where survey results are unfavorable.

Such professionals have expertise in finding alternative mortgages and can assist with mitigating any issues arising from negative surveys. Their services come at no cost, making them an invaluable resource for borrowers faced with challenges during the lending process.


In conclusion, a house survey is a vital part of the home buying process. While it might trigger anxieties, understanding the survey process, preparing for potential findings, and knowing how to navigate issues can ease the process. Leveraging expert opinions and considering financial implications can ensure you make an informed decision. Remember, a bad survey doesn’t necessarily mean you should abandon your dream home. Instead, it gives you the knowledge and power to negotiate and plan effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

What devalues a house in a survey?

The primary reasons for devaluation of a house during a survey are related to subsidence and structural problems. These issues may not be immediately apparent and could necessitate additional investigation beyond the initial inspection.

How do I prepare my house for a surveyor?

To get your house ready for a surveyor, remove any unnecessary items, organize and sanitize the space, fix any minor issues, and make sure all areas are easily accessible. This will facilitate a smooth process during the surveying by creating an efficient environment for both you and the surveyor to work in.

What to expect during a house survey?

In a house survey, the structural integrity and overall condition of both the interior and exterior components will be extensively evaluated by the surveyor. The focus will also be on examining property services, potential environmental concerns, and identifying any hidden risks or maintenance issues that may not be readily apparent. This includes assessing for problems such as subsidence or roof damage to ensure a thorough evaluation is conducted during the survey process.

What happens if a house survey shows problems?

If the survey of the house reveals substantial issues, you have no obligation to continue with your purchase and may retract your offer. It is essential to seek guidance from a professional surveyor for their expertise on what actions to take next.

What is the role of a house survey?

Conducting a house survey is crucial in evaluating the state of a property, pinpointing possible problems, and verifying compliance with construction laws. This thorough inspection provides valuable insights into the overall condition of the surveyed structure. It also helps to ensure that all are protected.

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About the author

Starting his career in Estate Agency, Jeff quickly moved up the ranks to manage his own office for Halifax Property Services. Co-founding Speed Property Buyers in 2008, he has applied this knowledge and overseen rapid expansion of the business.