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Kinsella Estates: Buyers’ Guide to the Pre-Purchase Structural Survey

A pre-purchase structural survey is a thorough inspection carried out on behalf of house-hunters on a property they are interested in, prior to buying it. The survey should be carried out by a qualified surveyor, registered architect or chartered engineer. We have a list of local surveyors should buyers need recommendations, just ask us.  Please note that this is not the same as your mortgage lender’s survey (which you pay for). That is a valuation for the bank to rely on, the structural survey is only for the buyer to rely on.  It is not
mandatory but buyers are generally advised to get one.  The survey is an independent evaluation of the overall condition of a property and lists all and any issues or ‘defects’.
The survey will usually check the following:
External Areas
Internal Areas
Roof and chimneys
Guttering and
Settlement cracks
Movement in
Windows and doors
Path and driveway
Interior attic space
Ceilings and floors
Interior walls
Windows and doors
Heating system
Plumbing and
Working fireplaces
Ventilation and
Compliance with
There are some limitations to the survey, for example, roofsand chimneys will usually only be inspected from ground level and the building fabric will not be breached. Your surveyor will list any relevant limitations. If in doubt, ask for clarification.
The survey/report itself can be a lengthy and confusing document for buyers, usually running to 15 pages plus with lists of observations, opinions and recommendations on issues that would not necessarily be classed as defects, so buyers should be prepared for this and not panic. Issues and even defects do not necessarily mean that it is not a quality property. The vast majority of these are normal elements of a property, however, when the defects are inconsistent to the age and price of the property, then the buyer needs to take note.
Once again, if you are in doubt, speak to your surveyor after the issue of the report to clarify: (1) If there are any unexpected defects that are inconsistent with the age of the property and, if so, (2) Is that a reason not to proceed with the purchase?
While the report itself is very detailed, these are the two most important questions that it seeks to answer.  In the majority of cases, the purchase proceeds and the buyer can then refer back to issues arising from the report as a guide to the ongoing maintenance or upgrading that the property will require over time.

For specific queries or to speak with a local property expert about your buying and selling needs in Wexford, Wicklow and surrounding areas, contact Michael, Alan or Eileen Kinsella at

Email me directly on or telephone : +353 53 94 21718
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