Dream home or worst nightmare?

By Joe Arnold

Buying a home is an expensive experience and, as the costs start to add up, it can be tempting to cut corners. So, when you are offered the option of paying for a valuation or a little extra for a more comprehensive survey, the cheaper option may seem more attractive.

At this stage it is worth asking yourself, do you know exactly what you are buying? A property is one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make – so are you buying your dream home or your worst nightmare?

It is important to remember that a valuation report is for the mortgage lender’s purposes, not as a guide for you. It simply tells the lender that the asset is reasonable security for the loan – it doesn’t provide information on the condition of the property.

Research by ComRes for RICS found that, on average, homebuyers spend £5,750 on repairs once they have moved into a new home. For many homebuyers, these costs will be much higher.

Some of the costs of these repairs could have been avoided, or factored into price negotiations, if a RICS survey had been undertaken to inform the buyers of the actual condition of the property.

There are three main types of property survey: 


Condition Report

This is generally suitable for smaller and newer properties and serves as a valuable “MOT” for homeowners looking to assess the condition of their home.

It does not include a valuation but focuses purely on the condition of the property by giving ratings to the different parts of the building and flagging up any areas that need attention.



Homebuyer Report

The most popular report for buyers, this is an economic but detailed survey, suitable for most residential properties.

A Homebuyer Report can be purchased with or without a valuation and describes the condition of each element of the property, with comments on defects, advice on repairs and maintenance, and a summary of condition ratings.


Building Survey

Designed for larger, older, or unique properties and those in obvious disrepair.

This survey offers an extensive inspection of the property condition and gives detailed information about the structure and fabric of the property. It includes a description of visible defects and potential problems caused by hidden flaws and an outline of repair options.


When it comes to buying a home, a RICs survey will tell you the actual condition of the property with important information that can protect your investment. Choosing a survey instead of a valuation report may be extra expenditure during the homebuying process, but it'll be a sound investment and can help you to avoid expensive surprises after you’ve moved in and could prevent your dream home from becoming your worst nightmare.

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Professional, efficient surveyors. Get the job done in a timely manner, had our survey back within 5 days of inspection. All team members I spoke with (Tiffany and Billy) were really lovely. Highly recommend. :)


I have only just started working with Stephen and he has already demonstrated the high levels of customer attention and dedication that this company has. The first impression he has caused is such that made me write this review. I have no doubt that the continuous service will be of same level. Looking forward to working further with Stephen. Well done!

Steve Kenny

Lease extension - I found Daniel Grove very professional and had an excellent understanding of all aspects relating to this transaction. Advice was invaluable, and it was nice to come across someone who did exactly what they said they were going to do. Would not hesitate in recommending the firm and Daniel to anyone who has a lease to extend.

Petros Kyrkilis

Amazing job and fully professional treatment. The surveyor went above and beyond to check for everything, when he could have easily claim lack of access. In addition he was more than happy to answer questions over the phone and be there to explain the steps.

Lynn Wilson

Within 48 hours I received my detailed report from Joe Arnold which enabled me to see the property as it was and not through rose-tinted glasses! The report highlighted areas where money might need to be spent and provided guidance on questions for my solicitor - just what I needed. Overall, the survey enabled me to re-assess my offer and in this respect was invaluable. Thank you for a friendly and professional service.

Mark Roberts

100% choose this company. As first time buyers we had a mortgage valuation which said the house was fine. The Arnold & Baldwin survey found over £30,000 of problems. Holes in the roof with daylight visible, damp, woodworm, broken sash windows and poor electrics. This company helped us renegotiate and save a fortune.


Arnold & Baldwin came recommended and I’ve got to say they were brilliant - not just in identifying issues with the property I was looking at but in the way they kept me informed and up to date (ie picking up the phone instead of just posting / emailing communications with you). After dealing with estate agents for so long, it’s nice to have someone who is genuinely on your side.

Kamal Rahman

From my initial interaction with the firm I found them to be prompt, courteous and helpful. I received a detailed Homebuyers report within a week of instructing and was given the opportunity to talk it through with the attending surveyour. Overall excellent service all round, would certainly recommend this firm.

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