Six common issues identified by a home buyers survey

Undertaken before finalising a mortgage, a home survey is a detailed inspection of a property carried out by a qualified surveyor, highlighting any potential issues with the property now and in the future. While such a survey is not a legal requirement, getting one can save you thousands of pounds in the long term.

For most of us, a home is the biggest purchase we will ever make so a thorough inspection of the condition is only sensible. Shockingly, however, four out of five homebuyers do not get a survey done

Paying for a survey by a qualified surveyor, such as those accessible through specialist conveyancing concierge services such as Sam Conveyancing, could save you thousands of pounds in the future. Knowing about any issues with the property can prevent any big, unexpected bills further down the line.

Here are six common issues routinely identified in a home buyers survey.


Damp is one of the most common problems that crops up in homebuyers surveys. Damp can be caused by water getting into the structure, condensation or poor ventilation within a property. It can lead to wet rot and dry rot within a home. Living with damp can cause respiratory issues which is particularly dangerous to at-risk groups such as babies, children and the elderly. Those with existing respiratory conditions or weak immune systems could also be at risk. Damp often leads to mould and inhaling this can cause issues such as rashes, sore eyes and sneezing. The cost of rectifying damp can run into tens of thousands of pounds.

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Missing test certifications

Home electrics should ideally be tested every 10 years, but missing test certificates are a common issue flagged up by home buyers surveys. Surveyors will check whether an up-to-date and valid Electrical Installation Condition Report is available on a potential new home. A Boiler Test Certificate, showing that a boiler has been checked every year, is also important but can frequently be found missing in a survey.

Structural movement

Cracks on walls and doors which do not close properly are key giveaways of structural issues. These must be addressed because in the most serious and extreme of cases, they can lead to collapse of part of a property’s structure. Many smaller cracks around the home are not necessarily something to be concerned about but any concerns over structural movement should be fully investigated, as in the worst cases, underpinning or even some rebuilding may be needed.

Roof problems

Another common concern flagged up in a homebuyers survey is problems with roofing. These can range from cracked tiles, poor guttering or even problems with the roof’s structure. Among the most common roof problems are poor insulation and blocked gutters. Flat roofing, a popular, cheaper alternative to pitched roofing, can be particularly problematic.


Asbestos is a noxious material and has been banned in house building since 1999 due to the health issues it can cause. In older houses, some asbestos may still be present. Removal has to be carried out by an asbestos removal specialist and can be expensive.

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Poor insulation

The Government encourages property owners to put insulation in place in order to help the environment and increase energy efficiency. However, poorly installed insulation can pose problems and is frequently flagged up in surveys. A lack of good insulation or poorly fitted, damaged insulation will need to be addressed and the size of the job will dictate the price tag. Poorly insulated pipes may also be raised as an area of concern.

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