We provide a fast and reliable building survey service for first time buyers, families buying their next home, as well as investors and developers, buying agents and many more, covering all types of property in London and the South East.
As well as pinpointing any defects, we will give you practical advice and recommendations on the likely costs of putting them right, or if further specialist input is required. With a survey from FPS, you will know exactly what you are buying, as well as any responsibilities or obligations that come with it, especially in the leasehold sector.
A building survey shows potential buyers the true condition of the building or flat, identifying structural defects and many unseen faults, giving them all the facts before committing to buying a property. As well as helping to avoid the need for unexpected and costly repairs, a survey puts the buyer in a stronger position to decide whether to proceed with the purchase – or negotiate a better deal.
We provide two types of reports:
Our Full Building Survey Report provides extensive reporting on all elements of a building.
It is a comprehensive report on the construction and condition of a property. It is particularly recommended for older properties that are more than 50 years old, unusually built or run-down. Buyers seeking to purchase a property that has previously been extended or altered, or if they are planning a major conversion or renovation to the building, are strongly advised to opt for a full survey. The Full Building Survey Report will include detailed technical information about the materials and construction, as well as an explanation of any defects, together with repair and maintenance options and the likely costs of any remedial works required.
Our Executive Summary Report is for properties requiring only a basic level of detail.
This is a bespoke survey created by us to bridge the gap between the Full Building Survey Report and so-called Home Buyer’s Survey reports, which we believe are too brief and lack crucial detail. Our Executive Summary provides a clear and concise report on the condition of the property, plus details of urgent faults as well as advice for legal advisors. The Executive Summary is suitable for newer or less complicated properties (particularly flats), or for experienced buyers, or those who only require key information. The Executive Summary Report will also include repair and maintenance options and the likely costs of any remedial works required.
Book your survey
Contact us now for more information or simply proceed to booking your survey by following our 4 quick steps.
- Provide property details
- Receive a quote within minutes
- Receive a call from us to discuss your options
- Book the survey
- Kings Cross WC1
- Covent Garden WC2
- Clerkenwell EC1
- Barbican EC2
- Aldgate EC3
- Blackfriars EC4
- Soho W1
- Belgravia SW1
- Pimlico SW1
- Borough SE1
- South Bank & Shad Thames SE1
- Southwark SE1
- Winchmore Hill N21
- Palmers Green N13
- Enfield EN2 & EN2
- Southgate N14
- Totteridge & Whetstone N20
- Finchley N2, N3 & N12
- Muswell Hill N10
- Tottenham N17
- Wood Green, N22
- Highgate N6
- Crouch End N8
- Stoke Newington N16
- Finsbury Park N4
- Archway N19
- Islington N1
North West London:
- Camden Town NW1
- Hampstead NW3
- Hendon NW4 West
- Hampstead NW6
- Mill Hill NW7
- Kingsbury NW9
- Willesden NW10
- Golders Green NW11
- Acton W3
- Chiswick W4
- Ealing W5
- Hammersmith W6
- Shepherds Bush W12
- South West London:
- Fulham SW6
- Wimbledon SW19
- Putney SW15
- Balham SW12
- Wandsworth SW18
- South East London:
- Blackheath SE3
- Eltham SE9
- Greenwich SE10
- Lambeth SE11
- Peckham SE15
- Woolwich SE18
- Dulwich SE21
- Stepney E1
- Bethnal Green E2
- Chingford E4
- Clapton E5
- Hackney E8
- Leytonstone E10 & E11
- Walthamstow E17
What sort of survey should I go for?
When you’re buying a new home, whether it be a house or a flat, you want to be sure that it is not going to start falling appart or costing you considerable sums of money to maintain within a few years of you handing over the money. Even if you are stretching your finances to afford the property, it is therefore essential to get a proper survey done to highlight any potential problems. The cost of a few hundred or thousand (depending on the size and value of the property) can save you thousands.
Not all surveys are the same though, and the one you need depends on both the type of property you are buying and whereabouts it is. Whichever type of survey you go for, the good news is that even if it does throw up some minor issues with the building, you can often use the report to provide substantiation for a reduction in the price to cater for any works which need to be done to the property – assuming you want to go ahead with the purchase.
By carrying out a survey, you’ll be armed with information that puts you in a stronger position to decide whether to proceed with the purchase, or negotiate a better deal!
My mortgage lender is conducting a valuation survey, isn’t that all I need?
It is a common misconception that a mortgage lender’s valuation survey represents a survey. In fact, it is merely a valuation carried out on the mortgage lender’s behalf by the lender to verify that the property is worth lending on. The valuation survey is not designed to be detailed other than to highlight any potential obvious problems and is prepared for and on behalf of the mortgage lender. It is not prepared for the purchaser.
Relying on the information provided by this report will therefore leave you at risk of not knowing enough about the property you are about to purchase.
Commissioning a building survey, however, allows you to make an informed decision before committing 100% to the purchase.
What different types of surveys are there and how do I choose between them?
There are four main types of survey: A valuation survey, a condition report, a homebuyer report and a full building survey.
Valuation Survey (undertaken by the lenders)
A valuation survey does exactly as its name suggests: it determines whether the property is worth the amount agreed to pay for it. This is primarily for the mortgage lender so that it knows if the loan will be covered if the property has to be repossessed and sold.
Some valuation surveys are ‘desktop valuations’ based on sale prices of similar properties. Others are ‘drive-by valuations’ where the surveyor will look at the property from the outside and in some cases, the surveyor will enter the property and look at it in more detail.
However, a valuation survey will not highlight any structural problems there may be. It is therefore worth paying for a more comprehensive full building survey where more information is required.
Condition and Home Buyers Surveys.
At Finnegan Property Solutions we have created our own uniquely tailored hybrid survey known as an Executive Summary Report (link).
Our Executive Summary Report bridges the gap between the Condition and Home Buyers Surveys and it is recognised by solicitors and clients as a more informative report.
We believe that the Homebuyers Survey is too brief and more of a tick the box exercise often raising more questions than it answers.
Our Executive Summary Report provides a clear and concise report on the condition of the property, plus details of urgent/obvious faults and advice for legal advisors. It provides greater information on the condition of the property which offers purchasers a greater peace of mind.
It includes advice on defects that may affect the value of the property due to repairs and ongoing maintenance, making it a good choice if you have some concerns about the state of the property and how much any problems could cost to fix further down the line.
Full Building Survey (The most detailed report)
If you have reason to be particularly worried about the structure of the building or are buying a period property, then it is probably best to go for a full building survey.
It includes information on defects and repair and maintenance options and is also essential if you are buying a larger property, or are planning to carry out major works.
As with the other two types of survey, costs will vary depending on the size of the property and where it is. It can be well worth paying the extra if it identifies issues which could cost thousands to put right.
A full building survey should provide you with all the information you’ll need to decide whether or not you want to proceed with the purchase or pull out because it has identified problems you hadn’t anticipated.
Just take our word for it – the Consumers’ Association and The Council of Mortgage Lenders advise you to get a survey before you buy, and not just to rely on a valuation.
What do surveyors look for inside a property?
Here is an example list of some of the items surveyors check for. You can add this to your list of things to spot when viewing potential property.
- Cracks in walls or ceilings.
- Check internal walls for signs of damp – tell-tale signs include mould, flaky paintwork and peeling wallpaper. Another sure sign is if the wall feels damp to the touch.
- Problems with condensation – most common in kitchens and bathrooms.
- Check woodwork for holes bored by woodworm.
- Beware of internal woodwork which is crumbling. This could be a sign of dry rot.
- Look in the loft/attic – check for signs of daylight showing, and whether there is adequate insulation (around 200mm).
- Check the plumbing particularly the water pressure since poor water pressure could be a sign of potential plumbing problems.
- Check for springy floors – feel free to bounce up and down.
What do surveyors look for outside a property?
- Check the brickwork. If the pointing is in a poor state, then damp will get in. Also check for staining in corners or below gutters.
- Check if the house has a damp-proof course. An older property may not have a damp-proof course – so you then need to ask the owner what measures have been taken to prevent rising damp.
- Check the roof. Ensure there are no missing tiles, and that the roof line isn’t sagging.
- Check the state of the guttering is not missing. With a flat roof, check for cracks or bubbles.
- Check the chimney to make sure the pointing in the brickwork is in good condition.
- Check for cracks in external walls. Large cracks may mean subsidence.
- Check if the drains are blocked or damaged.
- Check for cover-ups – such as where paint or render has been applied.
- Check for large trees near the property – roots may interfere with the foundations.
- Check doors and window frames for signs of rot.
Where can I find a surveyor?
You can usually find a surveyor through recommendation from your lender, solicitor, estate agent or a friend who has had a good experience with a surveyor. It’s important to use a qualified surveyor (Chartered with MRICS after their name) with proven track record in undertaking building surveys at point of sale. If you are combining a mortgage valuation with a survey, then you will have to use one from the lender’s approved panel.
However, particularly if you are buying an old property that’s been neglected – or one you suspect has been patched up – it’s also advisable to have an independent survey done. Even if the house seems in good condition, it could be money well spent. Either way, ensure the surveyor is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), he or she will have the qualification MRICS, FRICS or TechRICS. Search for a RICS surveyor in your area.
You can also search via the Independent Surveyors Association (ISA), which is a body of chartered surveyor’s independent of the large corporate estate agencies and in small practices throughout the UK. Contacts for individual firms can be found on the website.