Read our blog post for our advice on different types of survey - which is right for you.
Our guide to the different types of survey
Valuations, homebuyer's reports and full structural surveys...
Remember that the valuation that you pay your mortgage company to carry out is carried out for their benefit not yours, to check their investment is sound. It is a valuation and not a survey, and if there are any defects that do not materially affect the property's value, they will not tell you about them. If you want a more comprehensive survey you need to pay more and arrange it yourself.
A homebuyer's report is the more conclusive, but they are designed as a general rule for conventionally-built properties, built in the last 150 years. There is a great deal of information that they will tell you, but be aware that they will not be looking at every aspect of the property, as they do not take up carpets or carry out investigative work.
A full structural survey/building survey is the most extensive of surveys and can be tailor-made to suit you and the property and go into as much depth as you require. They are expensive but can put your mind at rest if you are new to property or unsure about a property. Be aware that problems are likely to come up, so don't panic, just consider how much it is likely to cost to overcome them.