In The Know : Property Surveys and The Changing Role of Solicitors

Increasing competition between mortgage lenders could lead to solicitors leaving their clients exposed when conducting their conveyancing, so what do you need to know about your changing role in advising on property surveys?

The competitive pressures of mortgage lending are driving a growing number of lenders to streamline their service by decoupling a valuation from a survey, and many lenders are now removing the option for customers to upgrade from a valuation to a Homebuyer Report or Building Survey. This has traditionally been the main route by which homebuyers have accessed these more detailed surveys and without being presented this option, they could be left exposed.

Both the Law Society and UK Finance (formerly the CML) state solicitors should recommend that a survey is undertaken, and The Conveyancing Association says that solicitors should not raise any questions about a property unless they have already been raised by the surveyor. 

It’s worth remembering that a mortgage valuation is for the protection of the lender and is not a survey for the protection the borrower. The type of valuation undertaken depends on that lender’s risk appetite and commercial demands and lenders are increasingly using automated valuations on transactions they consider to be lower risk. 

In order to meet their requirement to recommend a survey is undertaken, many solicitors ensure they are compliant through wording in their terms of engagement, that are acknowledged and agreed by the client. However, with so many lenders withdrawing the option to upgrade to a survey, there is a strong argument to say that solicitors should be more proactive in telling customers they need to get a survey, rather than covering their backs in the small print.

A more proactive approach to recommending your client carries out a survey on the property they are purchasing will ensure that you comply with your responsibilities, both in the letter and the spirit of your requirements. But it will do more than that.

Conveyancing is a process, but it is also a service that you provide to your clients to ensure they are legally protected when they buy a property. If you can help provide them with the peace of mind that the property is structurally sound as well as legally protected, you’ll be offering a service that could lead to better client outcomes and an improved customer experience.

At Arnold & Baldwin, we can provide national coverage, with surveyors across the UK, and we can help to point you in the right direction with our Compliance Pack, which includes information on your obligations and options. 

Share this article

About the author

Joe Arnold avatar

Joe Arnold

Joe is the guiding force behind Arnold & Baldwin and has overall responsibility for all commercial and residential surveys and valuations. Passionate about delivering the highest quality products at the fairest prices possible, he has been consistently searching for new and innovative client-focused services since founding the company with Jobie in 2007

Read more about Joe Arnold

Recommended Articles

Dream home video

The importance of a home survey


A property valuation is not a survey. Getting a home survey, and not just a bank valuation, is essential when buying a property. Read more

Qualify for lease extension

Do I qualify for a lease extension?


Have you owned your property for more than two years? If the original lease was for more than 21 years and the Freeholder is not a Charitable Housing Trust, the National Trust or The Crown then yes, congratulations, you qualify for a lease extension. Read more

Oops, image not found

What is the Lease Extension Process?


Everything you need to know about lease extensions and how the process works. Arnold and Baldwins building experts divulge all. Read more

Structural movement

Structural movement


Many owners are unaware of a problem until their house goes through the selling process Read more

Dream Home or Worst Nightmare?

Buying your new home can quickly become your worst nightmare. A home survey will help you realise your dreams and help you buy with confidence. Find out more about the importance of a home survey here

The Importance of a Home Survey

Watch the Video

4.7 Average rating on Google
Here's what our customers say


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.

Sign up for monthly Property Insights

Follow Us