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How long does getting a house survey take?

Troy Stevens 24 March 2022

Have you had an offer accepted on a property? If so – congratulations! The homebuying process may be just beginning, but you’re allowed to take a moment to reflect on your journey thus far and even feel a little smug.

But now what?

A key stage of the homebuying process is the homebuyer’s survey. But how long does a homebuyer’s survey take

Sit back and relax – we’re here to explain it all.

What is a house survey?

In homebuying, the survey is the part where you instruct an expert (known as a surveyor) to enter the property you’re purchasing to conduct a thorough check. 

The surveyor checks for things like structural movement, asbestos, drains, infestations (rats, insects or even bats), loft spaces, roof condition, drainpipes, damp and much more.

The results of this survey can determine whether the buyer goes ahead with the purchase, so to say it’s important is an understatement.

When should I arrange my house survey?

The house survey should be arranged as soon as your offer is accepted. The sooner you book it in, the quicker it’s completed and the closer you are to home ownership. 

Sometimes, the next available date in the surveyor’s diary isn’t for a couple of weeks, so start calling surveyors the same day your offer is accepted if you can. 

Remember, the seller must also be available to allow the surveyor access to their property – something else to bear in mind as diary clashes between the surveyor and the seller can cause delays.

How long does a house survey take? 

The survey itself will differ in duration, but most usually they take around two to six hours, depending on the level of detail required.

In many cases, your surveyor will be back at the office (figuratively speaking) before the end of the day and will be able to give you a quick call to summarise their visit, flagging up any major issues that they may have uncovered. 

This stops you from hanging on waiting for the outcome of the survey – and should hopefully calm your nerves if you’ve been worried about the results. Conversely, if there is an issue the home survey has uncovered – you’ll want to know sooner rather than later.

Of course, all surveyors work differently, so these details should be agreed in advance. 

The survey should be access-all-areas, with the seller granting the surveyor the means to enter all parts of the property including outhouses, garages, roof spaces and basements.

Sometimes, if they’ve been unable to access to one or more spaces within the property, the surveyor may return at a later date to complete their survey. This is at the buyer’s discretion, but it’s highly recommended that you insist on a proper check now rather than regretting it if something nasty turns up after the sale has gone through.

How long until you get the results of a house survey?

Again, this differs depending on the level of detail the survey went into, as well as things like how straightforward the survey results were and even how quickly your surveyor works. 

However, you can expect to see a written report within a week.

To get the most accurate idea of timescales, the best thing to do is always to liaise with your surveyor directly.

What if the seller pulls out after I paid for the survey?

Before booking your house survey, consider taking out Home Buyer’s Protection Insurance. This type of cover means that if the seller pulls out, you can reclaim the money you’ve already spent on the house sale, including surveyor’s fees. These usually run into the hundreds – so it’s definitely worth having.

If you’re thinking it won’t happen to you, consider the statistics. 1 in 4 property sales in the UK fail before completion – which is a lot of wasted surveyor’s fees!

Rhino Home Protect can cover you from as little as £69, so get in touch to find out more today.

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