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A Matter of Land | Survey needs in buying or selling a property

Published:Monday | September 5, 2016 | 12:00 AMCraig Francis
Craig Francis

Good day, readers. This week I will again respond to a question that has been submitted by a reader.

Good day, Mr Francis, Can you please tell me the different surveys needed to be completed when buying or selling a house or lot?


T. H.

Good day T.H.,

This is something many first-time home buyers or those who are selling a property for the first time want to know. Some of the persons who undertake the process find it very frustrating the different surveys that they have to do. These are really more on the purchasers’ side as opposed to the vendors.

However, vendors may undertake surveys to ascertain the status of their property for sale.


The valuation report, as the name suggests, arrive at a value of the property a current market value and a ‘forced sale’ value.

Generally, the report is prepared at the instruction of the buyer to assess the true value of a property. This is a major asset to them in negotiating the price to be paid for the property.

The report is normally requested by a bank or lending institution that funds the purchase. In Jamaica, if you are obtaining a mortgage the bank or any other lending institution will require a valuation by one of their panel of valuation surveyors.

The valuation report indicates if the purchase price is reasonable and whether there are any major defects.


This is another important document that you will need. This Surveyors’ Report will first identify the property and ensure that it is, using the title, actually the one being sold and at the position as indicated by the vendor/realtor.

The report will also address any breaches of the restrictive covenant that may exist or any encroachment on the property or by the property on another.

The surveyors report is key as it indemnifies the purchaser and lending institution by telling them that the property that is in question is either in ‘good health’ or not.

If breaches or encroachments are found they can be remedied before being purchased.


In instances where the house being purchased is over 40 years old, the lending institution will require a structural engineering report. This will help to identify any structural defects that may be affecting the house.

The lender wants to ensure that the property to be held as collateral is in good structural condition before using it as security. The report will look to check the foundation roof and walls, etc.

A report will then be done to report on their findings and/or recommendations. 

The first two reports are usually mandatory, with the structural report being only needed if the house is over 40 years old or as requested by the lending institution.

T.H., I hope this has been helpful to you. All the best in your endeavours.

Until next time, traverse well.

- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at or Precision Surveying Services