Waiting for your property survey to come back can be a nail biting time, especially if the search for your dream home has taken a while. Will the survey unearth some unforeseen stumbling blocks or will you soon be on your way to moving in?

Only time will tell, but just how long will you have to wait for your surveyor's report to come back? Let’s take a look.

Are there different types of property surveys?

Before we dive into timescales, it’s important to clear this question up first. Yes, there are different types of survey homebuyers can request, and each will have an impact on when you’ll receive the report back from the surveyor.

There are three main types of property surveys available to you: Condition Report (Level One Survey), HomeBuyer’s Report (Level Two Survey), and a full Building Survey (Level Three Survey). While you have the choice of three different levels, it’s really only the latter two that are worth considering.

For more information on each, including what they entail and which one you should go for, check out our article on the subject: What Kind Of Survey Do I Need? A Homebuyer's Guide

How long do surveys take to complete?

As you’ll see if you click the link above and check out the different types of survey available, the level of detail your surveyor will need to go into can vary dramatically. Naturally, this has a knock-on effect in terms of time spent at the property.

For a HomeBuyer’s Report, you can expect the surveyor to be there for anywhere between one to four hours, depending on what type of home they are surveying and, of course, the size and condition.

Building Surveys (or Full Structural Surveys, as they are otherwise known), are far more in depth, and the time required to carry them out reflects that. Most will take somewhere in the region of three to eight hours to complete.

When can I expect to receive the survey report?

So, to the question that spawned the post: How long does it take for a surveyor’s report to come back? Well, that depends.

Again, there will be a difference between the types of survey undertaken. Homebuyer’s Reports can be returned within five working days, whereas Full Structural Surveys will take a little longer to compile, usually somewhere in the region of eight working days.

There’s also a discrepancy between individual surveyors. Some will simply take longer than others to get the report out to you, so you should take the above as a guideline rather than concrete timeframes. 

Most good surveyors will give you a rough idea of how long it’ll take before you instruct them, however. If they don’t, you are well within your rights to ask.

The report has arrived...what happens next?

First of all, it’s worth stating something you’re probably already aware of: Until you exchange contracts, you are not legally obliged to proceed with the purchase of the property in question. This will seem eye-rolling-ly obvious to many, but we believe that it’s still worth pointing out, nonetheless.

With that in mind, the content of your surveyors report is really what will dictate your next move. If the surveyor deems everything to be sound and in good order, you’re free to go ahead with the purchase if you still wish to do so.

If, on the other hand, problems have been highlighted, you have other options available to you. The most common course of action in such situations is one of the following: 

  • You can back out of the deal entirely;
  • Discuss any issues with your agent and/or solicitor to see if they can be cleared up;
  • You can ask the vendor to fix the issues in the report;
  • Or, you can renegotiate the sale price so you can address the issue/s yourself when you move in.


Many property surveys return issues, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t get a glowing report back from your surveyor. In fact, it’s relatively normal for problems to be unearthed during a survey, especially in older properties. You are, after all, paying your surveyor to highlight every defect found in the property, so don't be surprised when they do! 

Common issues that come to light during a survey vary from boundary queries to building regulations. Your surveyor should be happy to go over the report with you and answer any questions you may have about the report. 

Remember, too, that some surveys are more thorough than others. A Building Survey, for example, will likely spell out your next steps and detail each of the issues in depth. For minor complications, your first port of call will be your estate agent, although planning problems and building regulation queries will ordinarily be raised directly with the lawyers.

That’s it for another week, we sincerely hope you found this post useful. If you want property related posts to hit your inbox every week, sign up to our newsletter. We publish every Monday and cover all aspects of the property market.

If you are looking to buy, sell, rent, or let in or around the capital, make Petty’s your first port of call. We have been helping people make their move for well over a century, and we’d love to welcome you into the family. Give our friendly team a call today and find out what has made us stand out from the crowd since 1908.

how long does a property survey take to come back