Gibbs Gillespie Chartered Surveyors
Tel: 0208 866 6565 | Email:

Chartered Surveyors covering London, Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire

Property Surveys

Buying a home is one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make.  You need to know as much as you can about the property before you buy, so having a survey makes sense – and could save thousands of costly repair bills later.  A valuation report undertaken by the lender’s valuer is not a survey, but is prepared to assess the property’s value as a security for the proposed loan.  It is not intended to identify defects unless they severely affect the value.  Mortgage lenders, solicitors and many consumer groups recommend buyers to get a survey, rather than relying upon a valuation.  There are three main type of survey:

RICS Homebuyers Report | RICS Home Condition Report | Building Survey

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Designed by the RICS, this report is perhaps the most common type of survey undertaken, and is aimed to fill the gap between a lender’s basic valuation and a detailed Building (or Structural) Survey.  The Homebuyers Report is designed to assist buyers to  make a reasoned and informed decision as to whether to proceed with a purchase by identifying any defects which may be apparent to the building, and also providing advice upon what is a reasonable price to pay for the property.  When carrying out an inspection of a property, the surveyor will undertake an inspection of the inside and outside of the property, undertake an inspection within the loft and, where appropriate, lift manhole covers.  Comments are made upon the services and the site, and the location within which the property is situated.  The report includes sections upon all main elements of the building, including roofs, walls, floors and joinery.  For ease of reference, each element or part of the building is given a coloured condition rating:

Condition Rating 1 (green) – no repair is currently needed, the property must be maintained in the normal way.

Condition Rating 2 (orange) – defects that need repairing or replacing, but are not considered to be serious or urgent,  the property must be maintained in the normal way.

Condition Rating 3 (red) – defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.

Purchaser’s main concerns are frequently dampness, movement and timber defects, and comments upon each of these are included within the Homebuyers Report, which also includes a section upon any legal matters which should be brought to the attention of the purchaser’s solicitors.

Importantly, the Homebuyers Report includes a  valuation of the property, and the cost of reinstatement for building insurance purposes.

We are also able to provide additional services beyond the scope of the standard Homebuyers Report, such as the practicality of carrying out future works such as loft conversions or extensions. 

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This is a recently introduced report designed by the RICS. 

This survey has similar features to the Homebuyers Report, and also includes a condition rating system.  The purpose of the report is to focus purely upon the condition of the property, not its value.  The report highlights defects which are apparent, and which should be brought to the attention of the purchaser to enable them to make a reasoned and informed decision upon the condition of the property.  However, this report does not include advice upon repairs or ongoing maintenance issues which will need to be considered by a prospective purchaser, and does NOT include a valuation.  This type of report is useful not only to the purchaser, but also to the seller who could use the report to prevent unforeseen issues cropping up in lending/buying valuations or future surveys.

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Also known as a structural survey, this is a very detailed report suitable for all buildings, but in particular for listed buildings, large, older or rundown properties, unusual or altered buildings or if a purchaser is planning major works.  This report gives detailed information on the structure and fabric of the property.  Comments contained within this report should be similar to those within the Homebuyers Report, but expressed in more detail, advising upon the specific location of every defect, its cause and works which should be undertaken to rectify the defect.

However, some restrictions will still exist to prevent a complete inspection of the building, such as fitted floor coverings and fitted and built-in cupboards, but within these limitations the survey will be comprehensive.  A building survey does not normally include a valuation, but can be included at your request. 

We do not undertake building surveys from this office, but will be pleased to recommend who you should contact for this service.

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If you would like any further information on any of the above services, please do not hesitate to contact Andrew Barton, MRICS or Ros Small, Practice Manager, on:  0208 866 6565,
or by email:, or use our contact form.


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