If you’re planning to purchase a new home, you may have been recommended a home buyers survey or are wondering if a house survey is necessary and how much it will cost you. This article will give you a thorough understanding of house survey costs and answer the question of how much is a home buyers survey. We will also cover the factors that affect the cost such as property value so you can make an informed decision about whether to get one and which type best suits your needs and budget.
Understanding Home Buyer’s Surveys
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICs) have many types of house surveys available which are mainly a structural survey. They have more than one survey level and it ranges from a basic survey through to a more detailed report called a building survey.
Another body, the Residential Property Surveyors Association offers the RPSA Home Condition survey. Which is an alternative to getting a RICs survey. There are also many other house surveys available which cover niche categories such as damp surveys, dry rot and others including electrical installation condition reports.
Ultimately, a home buyer’s survey is an inspection of a property carried out by a competent person. Its main purpose is to identify any defects or potential issues with the property that could affect its value or require costly repairs in the future. The main objective is to help you to avoid unexpected repair costs.
By getting a house survey, you can avoid unexpected expenses down the line and negotiate better terms with the seller based on the surveyor’s findings.
In most cases, a mortgage valuation survey is required by mortgage lenders to ensure that the property is worth the amount of the loan. It is important to remember a mortgage valuation is for the mortgage lender and not for the purchaser, you won’t get a comprehensive report. We have covered all of the options in more detail in our blog what is a homebuyer survey?
Types of Home Buyer’s Surveys
Below is a brief description of some of the available homebuyer surveys you can get. Important to remember this is not a completely exhaustive list as the focus of this article is house survey costs.
This is the most basic and affordable house survey, which provides an overview of the property’s condition and highlights any obvious defects or risks. It is suitable for new-build properties or well-maintained homes that do not have any significant issues.
RICs HomeBuyer Report:
This is a more in-depth survey that includes a thorough inspection of the visible parts of the property, such as the roof, walls, floors, and windows. It also covers any visible defects, potential risks, and advice on necessary repairs or further investigations. This normally includes a RICs Condition Report with issues laid out using their traffic light system and an opinion on the value of the property.
RICs Building Survey:
This is a comprehensive survey that examines all aspects of the property in detail, including the structural integrity and the hidden parts of the building. It is recommended for older properties or those that have undergone major renovations or have had previous structural issues. This is also referred to as a full structural survey and is the highest survey level on offer.
New-Build Snagging Survey:
This survey is specifically designed for newly built homes and identifies any defects or finishing issues that need to be corrected by the builder before you move in. It is essential to ensure that the property meets the necessary standards and specifications.
It is important to choose the right house survey for your property to ensure that all potential issues are identified. If you don’t know which one you could look at your overall budget to see what your finances will allow.
It is also extremely important to remember at this stage (if you are in England) that the purchase could potentially fall through and therefore you could lose any money you have invested in a survey if the purchase does fall through unexpectedly.
House Survey Costs Involved
Your choice of which house survey to go for will affect the cost. It completely depends on whether you want a simpler property survey or a full structural survey. The survey level makes a difference too. It is not unusual for a surveyor to base their price on the property value.
Although a homebuyer survey may seem like an unnecessary expense, it can save you thousands of pounds of your hard-earned money in potential repairs or renegotiating the purchase price.
By identifying any issues with the property, you can negotiate a lower price to get the best deal or get the seller to complete the necessary repairs before the sale goes through. Additionally, the survey can give you peace of mind knowing that the property is sound and safe to occupy.
Equally, you may not negotiate the asking price any further but you will know which elements you may need to budget for to get fixed in the property when you do eventually move in.
It is important to note getting a house survey is not a guarantee that there are no issues with the property either. A surveyor is only human and may miss an issue or they may not remove objects or have proper access to all of the property, therefore they won’t see absolutely everything. Once you move in if you suddenly stop ongoing maintenance or vital repair work you could see hidden defects begin to appear.
Factors Affecting the Cost of a HomeBuyers Survey
Several factors can influence the cost of a home buyer’s survey, including:
The age and size of the Property Size:
Larger and older properties require more detailed inspections, hence raising the survey’s price. It also simply takes a surveyor longer or they may need additional people to help complete the survey.
Properties located in areas with a higher risk of flooding, subsidence, or other environmental factors may require additional investigations, increasing the survey’s cost. Especially if you want the most detailed advice from your surveyor.
Surveyor’s Experience and Reputation:
Surveyors with more experience and qualifications may charge higher fees than those just starting. This is also the case if you go for a specialist such as a structural engineer. Typically chartered surveyors will cost the most.
Additional Services Requested:
If you require additional services, such as testing for asbestos or a drainage survey, they will add to the overall cost of the survey. It is important to get a detailed quote from the surveyor before proceeding with the survey to avoid any unexpected costs.
Other more niche house surveys will normally focus on their specialism. You can find yourself survey stacking and adding more and more home survey costs to your move.
Types of Home Buyer’s Surveys and Their Costs
Depending on the type of home buyer’s survey you choose, the cost can vary significantly. Here is an estimate of the average costs for each property survey:
This house survey is the most basic and is ideal for new properties or homes that are in good condition. The surveyor will inspect the property and provide a report on any visible defects or issues. The cost for this house survey typically ranges from £200 to £400.
This survey is more detailed than the condition report and is suitable for properties that are less than 100 years old and in reasonable condition. The surveyor will inspect the property and provide a report on any visible defects or issues, as well as any potential problems that may arise in the future. The cost for this type of survey typically ranges from £300 to £500.
A building survey is a more detailed inspection and is recommended for older properties or homes that are in poor condition. The surveyor will inspect the property in detail and provide a report on any significant problems, as well as recommendations for repairs and maintenance. The cost for this type of survey typically ranges from £600 to £1200.
New-Build Snagging Survey:
This type of survey is specifically designed for new-build properties and is carried out before the buyer moves in and before the warranty expires. The surveyor will inspect the property and identify any defects or issues that need to be addressed by the developer. They will provide a snagging report. The cost for this type of survey typically ranges from £200 to £500. This wouldn’t normally include a property valuation.
It is important to note that these are just average costs and can vary depending on the location, size, and condition of the property.
Most surveys will include issues for further investigation and you should receive a home report.
How to Choose the Right Home Buyer’s Survey
It is important to remember you should assess a survey cost. It is a vital step and ultimately is designed to save money. Depending on what the survey uncovers would affect your view on the house survey worth. Some people just get a mortgage valuation done, some go for a full structural survey, others do not get a survey at all but below are some tips to help.
Assessing Your Needs and Budget
Before you start looking for a surveyor, you need to assess your needs and budget. You may not be able to afford the most comprehensive survey. Consider the age and condition of the property, the location, and the overall value to determine the appropriate level of inspection required.
A newer property may not require as extensive of a survey as an older property with a lot of wear and tear. Set a budget and check with several surveyors to compare costs and avoid any hidden fees or add-ons. Also, consider any personal preferences, such as the surveyor’s accreditation, experience, and communication style. You want to work with someone who is knowledgeable, professional, and easy to communicate with.
Researching and Comparing Surveyors
Once you have a good idea of what you need and what you can afford, it’s time to start looking for a surveyor. Look for qualified and accredited surveyors with a track record of delivering quality inspections. Ask for recommendations from family, friends, or your real estate agent and check online reviews and ratings.
You can also look for surveyors who specialize in the type of property you are buying. For example, if you are buying an older property, you may want to look for a surveyor with experience in historic homes. Then, reach out to a few surveyors to compare their services, fees, and availability. Be sure to ask for a sample report to see if it is easy to read and understand.
Asking for Recommendations
Once you have narrowed down your options, ask the surveyor to provide references or past clients you can contact to ask about their experience and satisfaction. This will give you an idea of what to expect and help you make an informed decision. You can also ask the surveyor if they offer any additional services, such as a follow-up consultation or advice on repairs or renovations.
By following these steps and getting a comprehensive home buyer’s survey, you can make sure you are investing in a sound and safe property. While the cost of a survey may seem daunting, the peace of mind, and potential cost savings make it worthwhile. Remember, a home buyer’s survey is an investment in your future, so take the time to choose the right surveyor for your needs.
Check out this other article which contains our free moving home checklist.