The time to arrange a survey will fall somewhere within a band between agreeing an offer and exchanging contracts. First of all, remember that a lender’s valuation for mortgage purposes is not a survey.
If your decision to purchase depends on the condition of the house or flat then it is a good idea to arrange a survey in the early stages. This way, you can decide whether to proceed with the purchase at an early date and before your solicitor has completed their input. Many house buyers initially make an offer “subject to survey”. This way, the buyer makes it clear that the offer may be revised if the survey reveals that costly repairs are required.
A buyer who is relying on a mortgage to make the purchase should wait until the mortgage valuation has been carried out and have received a mortgage offer before instructing a surveyor (unless the valuation and survey are carried out at the same time, in which case the additional cost of the survey may be wasted if the property is valued lower than the purchase price and a mortgage offer is not received).
The most important date to consider before you should arrange a survey is the proposed date to exchange contracts. Once contracts have been exchanged, a buyer is committed to the purchase and there may be financial consequences if the buyer pulls out after this stage.
Remember to allow sufficient time for the survey to be arranged, undertaken and the report completed before exchange of contracts. Also, allow some time after receipt of the report to read the report carefully so that you are not rushed into making a decision. Bear in mind that the report may make recommendations for further investigations or to obtain cost estimates prior to commitment to purchase, ie, prior to exchange of contracts, so that you are fully aware of any terms which may require significant expenditure. And don’t forget to allow for busy periods and bank holidays, and check whether any parties, advisers, etc, have holidays or time off during the crucial period.