Do I need a survey at auction
Do you need a survey for an auction property?
Getting a Level 2 or 3 Survey before making your purchase could save you thousands in repairing costs.

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Do I need a survey at auction?

(Last Updated: 12/12/2023)
3 min read

Key Takeaways

  • A survey at auction isn't mandatory, but it is strongly advisable to get one.
  • The auction house only allows surveys to take place on a certain day and time.
  • Auction properties often have defects that make the current resale value lower than if they were in good condition.
  • The seller doesn't take any responsibility for the condition of the property (unless they make any misrepresentations).

There isn't a legal requirement to get a survey when buying a property at auction, however, your solicitor will advise you to get one. You can choose between a RICS Level 2 or a Level 3 Home Survey depending on the property type, age and condition.

16% of homeowners discover defects

In our recent survey, 16% of homeowners found defects; including 2% who were able to pull out of a bad purchase, 7% who were able to negotiate a better price, and sadly, 7% of homeowners who did not get a survey and discovered defects after the purchase.

12 of the 39 who remembered how much these defects cost to remedy spent over £5,000

Don't burn your money, book a survey.

RICS Surveyors | Fixed Fees | Same week availability | Access arranged


The survey will flag defects in the property, which you can factor into your budget, so that you don't buy a property at auction and make a loss in fixing the issues. Whilst a survey isn't a legal requirement, it does guide you on what defects there are and the cost of repairs, which in turn helps you set your limit on what you want to bid, with greater wisdom than working from the Auction Legal Pack alone. Read more - Buying a House Without a Survey

Why do I need a survey on an auction property?

Most properties that are sold at auction have some kind of defect that made the seller choose to sell at auction versus selling on the open market. Whether the defect is a legal issue or a structural issue requires investigation.

Some defects, such as infestation, can be fixed for a few hundred pounds, whilst subsidence or damp could cost thousands of pounds to fix.

Which survey do you need?

The RICS Level 3 Home Survey (known as the full structural or Building Survey) is best suited to run down properties being sold at auction. The surveyor will identify defects and advise of what work will need to be done.

National Coverage for House Surveys

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House Survey Costs

Cost from £400 EXC VAT
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What happens if I don't get a survey?

You can choose to avoid the cost of a survey, however, if you find a defect in the property after you win at auction, then you are liable to pay to fix the issue. Some minor defects can be absorbed into the saving of buying at auction, but some defects such as damp, subsidence or even asbestos, can eat away at your profit.

Frequently Asked Questions
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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