If your survey comes back with some news you weren’t expecting, what are your options? Find out here.

Getting a survey on a property you are buying can save you money, time and stress – but, at the same time, it can be a nerve-wracking process, as it can potentially make or break the deal.

It’s important to understand what steps to take next.

The good news is, a ‘bad’ survey doesn’t have to mean the finish line to the house you set your hearts on

Arranging a survey

The aim of a survey is to find out the property’s condition.

The Condition Report is the cheapest, while the HomeBuyer Report is the mid-table version . The Structural Survey is the most comprehensive type of survey and most in depth one available

The right choice for you will depend on the property you are buying.


You then get your survey back…

What does a bad survey look like?

Most of the time a survey will list ‘problems’ or ‘issues’ .

With a HomeBuyer Report, a clear traffic-light coding system is used to highlight defects:

  • Red means serious or urgent repairs are needed
  • Orange means investigations may be advised
  • Green means things can be readily cared for under normal maintence

With a Structural Survey, the report will provide more details about the defects, and offer advice on the next steps you should take.


The surveyor should be willing to answer any questions you have about the written report at no extra cost.

What you can expect from your surveyor

If problems have been highlighted its better you have a talk about these issues, it’s not for them to comment on whether you should proceed with the purchase or not.

The surveyor’s role is only to flag issues that require attention and to offer basic advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance requirements.

A few common problems

Your survey will inform you about a range of issues and defects that might affect the property’s value. These might include concerns such as defective wiring, an outdated heating system, and problems with the roof.

But certain issues might set the alarm bells ringing more than others. For example:

Japanese knotweed – this invasive plant is one of the worst as its underground roots will damage anything in its path. Discovering the plant can mean a property becomes essentially un-mortgageable.

Subsidence – this happens when the ground underneath your property moves, affecting its stability. This can cause cracking to the structure of the property. It can be fixed through a process known as underpinning.  But finding an insurer willing to cover a house that has suffered subsidence can be tricky.

Rot – dry rot is type of fungus that can weaken the timber within a property and can spread rapidly. If dry rot is discovered, confirm the extent of the problem with your surveyor.

Woodworm infestation – woodworm is caused by beetle larvae burrowing into timber, causing structural damage. The tell-tale sign is small, rounded holes on the surface of the wood.

Damp – damp patches are often most clearly visible on the ceiling, but you need to check everywhere. Many forms can be treated, though costs can run into thousands of pounds.

What should i do next ?

  • Commission a supporting survey, which will look at identified defects such as damp, invasive weeds  in greater detail
  • Get issues investigated further by an independent expert or specialist
  • Call in a builder

What are your options ?

If a major problem or problems are found then these could be your options…

  • Ask the seller to fix the issue before proceeding with the purchase
  • Negotiate the asking price down because it could end up costing an arm and a leg.
  • If it all seems too much, the issue may prompt you to decide to pull out of the purchase altogether.