Before you can buy your new home, your mortgage lender will instruct a qualified surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to carry out a survey of the property. A survey will tell you whether or not the property you hope to buy is a good investment without structural faults.
Mortgage providers usually insist on a valuation report before they will agree to lend you the money. This is to confirm the property is worth an amount in excess of the mortgage such that if you are unable to pay the mortgage, they can sell the property to recoup the amount owed to them.
This provides information about the basic fabric of a property. Only those parts of the property that are easily visible will be covered. It will comment on defects or problems that may affect the value of the home. If your new home does not come with a warranty, or you'd like the peace of mind that a structural survey brings, you could decide to commission a Homebuyer's Report.
This is a more thorough survey of the property's construction and condition than a Homebuyer's Report. It is therefore likely to cost twice as much or more. It will provide detailed information on how the property has been constructed, the materials used, the condition of the foundations, roof, walls, etc. It is recommended for properties that are very old, run down or expensive.
New homes often come with a guarantee such as Buildmark that insure against major defects resulting from the builder's failure to carry out the guarantor's requirements.
The cost and time to complete your survey will depend upon which type of survey you have commissioned, and the size, condition and location of your home.
Please note, this is a handy guide and does not constitute legal advice.