Why a first-time buyer should commission a survey

For many first-time buyers, cashflow can be tight, and it is understandable that they look for ways to save money during the buying process.

Faced with costs from solicitors and mortgage brokers, and having to pay for other expenses like searches and removal companies, on top of probably having to purchase new furniture, carpets, curtains and DIY materials, etc, it is not surprising that people consider skipping non-essential spends.

Although it is not an essential cost, our expert team at Harrison Clarke, a leading chartered surveying firm in the Southampton area, strongly advises that a house survey is not a cost that should be avoided.

You might think that you don’t need to commission a survey because your mortgage company surveyor has been to your property but, in this article, we will explain why it is still very valuable for you to commission your own survey.

Taking future costs into account

Whilst you might be saving some money upfront by not paying to have a survey carried out before you buy your property, you could be unwittingly letting yourself in for high costs in the future, if the property turns out to have problems that you didn’t know about and need to fix.

A good survey will flag any issues to you, and help you to understand and plan for the costs of owning a well-maintained house. 

This will include different types of repairs, which you may not have been expecting, and give you an idea of building costs to complete these repairs. 

Also, you may be surprised at how much property will cost to heat. Your surveyor can advise you on how to save energy, even if this means incurring small upfront costs, such as providing more insulation or making minor electrical alterations. 

In some circumstances, the type of property you have fallen in love with may be difficult to resell for a number of different reasons. 

This could mean that, even though the building is right for you, it could cost you thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds when you want to move house. 

In many of these scenarios, the cost of the survey will pay for itself many times over, even though the payback period could be over a number of years. 

The lender’s survey will not cover any of these areas for you, as they are only there on behalf of the mortgage company to confirm the value of the property. 


Finding the money to cover future maintenance costs

You may be expecting your income to increase over the next few years, and therefore be confident you will be able to afford the costs of heating and repairing your home, but nothing is guaranteed. If your income doesn’t increase, do you have a back-up plan?

Also, the detail in a surveyor’s report often gives you useful bargaining power to negotiate a reduction on the asking price which, in turn, will lower your initial outlay by reducing your mortgage deposit and stamp duty if it applies. 

Working with a surveyor can help to save you money, both at the start of the house buying process and over the course of your property ownership, so commissioning a survey is a wise investment that is likely to pay for itself many times over. 


Lack of experience in maintaining a property

We often find that first-time buyers have not needed to maintain their own property before. This could be because they have been living at home with their parents or they may have lived in rented accommodation, where their landlord has been responsible for the upkeep of the property. 

Commissioning a good quality, HomeBuyer Report (Level 2 Survey) or Level 3 Building Survey, depending on the type of property you are buying, can help you to understand what your maintenance responsibilities will be. Having this information will ensure that your new home stays wind and weather tight and in good condition. 

If you have any concerns or queries about maintaining your new home, commissioning a survey will give you the opportunity of speaking with a qualified building surveyor who can provide best practice advice tailored to you, and your financial circumstances, regarding the best way for you to maintain your new home. 


Reducing stress levels at a potentially stressful time

Many people find the process of buying their first home extremely stressful. There are so many factors that come into play, and you have more control over some than others. 

By commissioning a high-quality survey and properly understanding the ins and outs of the property that you are buying, as well as having the ability to talk to an experienced and professional building surveyor throughout the process, you will have peace of mind and reassurance that will take away a potential source of stress. 

We appreciate that buying a new property can be a difficult time and we always aim to be the easy part of the buying process, providing straightforward and common-sense advice and supporting our clients from start to finish, until they have the confidence to know that they are making the right purchase decision for them. 


How Harrison Clarke can help

We are here for you, to advise you on the right type of survey for the property that you are buying. We will make sure that you receive the right advice throughout your buying process, at a cost level appropriate for your circumstances. 

For further guidance and useful tips and information on the range of surveying services we provide, you can read our blogs and watch our videos. These are available on our website and our YouTube channel


How you can contact Harrison Clarke

Call our friendly, expert and highly qualified surveyors on 023 8155 0051, or email us at info@harrisonclarke.co

We would welcome the opportunity to help with any queries or needs you may have.

At the time of writing, we have a total of 79 reviews across Trustpilot and Google. We are proud to say that they are all 5-star ratings across the board.

Discover something you would like to know more about?

Tim Clarke, Director at Harrison Clarke chartered surveyors.

About the author

Tim Clarke,


Tim set up Harrison Clarke Chartered Surveyors in July 2017 following a series of public and private sector surveying roles, having previously worked for the University of Cambridge, Rund Partnership, Goadsby, and CBRE. 

Tim has degrees in building surveying, construction project management, and business administration.