The Lowdown on Surveys and Property Search

If you are purchasing a property, chances are high that you will be advised to do a property search as well as a property survey. These terms can often seem to be interchangeable. While they are similar in that they both offer evaluations of the property you are considering buying, there are a few key differences. Essentially, property search refers to a list of questions that are sent to various organisations to check records. A survey, on the other hand, refers to a report done on the physical state of the property. These are done by a surveyor who visits the property.

Keep reading to find out out more about searches and surveys to see how they differ and when they would be done.

How Does a Property Search Differ From a Property Survey?

When purchasing your home, you would need a property search as well as a survey to find out whether there is anything you need to know before going ahead with the purchase. Both of these play an important role in valuing the house and identifying potential issues. Here's how each works:


As we mentioned above, property conveyance searches are done with various authorities, in your neighbourhood, your town and the greater UK. Searches are done on the following:


  • Local or Local Authority. This request is sent to the Local Authority to confirm a range of things from the property's planning history to any roads facing the property that may be private or council owned, whether the building is listed, whether any motorways are proposed at the rear of the garden and any similar potential issues.


  • Water or drainage. This request is sent to the local water authorities. These questions relate to water flowing to and from the property, drain connection, water supply and whether it is direct or supplied through other land and whether there is a water metre in place.


  • Environmental. This request focuses on the history of the property land, to determine whether there are any issues such as the property being built within a flood plain or whether the property was built on a landfill or waste site.


  • Mining. This request is for properties in mining areas. A coal authority search is done to determine the last mining work in the area, whether any compensation claims for property damage have been placed, how these have been settled and whether any compensation was received.



Surveys are done by surveyors and focus on the overall state of the property and its land. Typical surveys include the following:


  • Basic valuation. This is standard for all property purchases. The report determines the overall worth of the property and also makes some notes about the state of the property to identify any obvious issues. This survey is usually fairly short.


  • Buyer's report and inspection. This is a more intensive survey that takes a few hours. The surveyor will note any and all issues, no matter how big and small. This is a very useful report to identify potential areas for improvement over the years.


  • Full structural survey. Even more intensive still is the full structural report. This is often done for a specific issue, such as rising damp. It goes into more detail than the general inspection report.


An experienced UK property conveyancer from Home Legal Direct will help you through the entire process, making your property search and survey in UK as stress-free as possible.


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