Do you need to get a survey?
A property survey is not mandatory and you can choose whether to instruct one or not. However, it can assist you in avoiding costly and unwanted surprises, like an unexpected rewiring job or plumbing reworks. It could also provide you with peace of mind by telling you that those hairline cracks don’t mean that the house is falling down.
It is recommended that where you are looking to spend hundreds and thousands of pounds to purchase a property, it would definitely be worth spending a few hundred pounds on a survey to have the reassurance of an independent expert assessing to see if it is a sound investment.
With the feedback you receive from the survey, you can reconsider whether to go ahead with the purchase or use the third party information to renegotiate the purchase price. For example, if the property requires £10,000 of repairs to the roof, it would be reasonable to ask £10,000 off the asking price. Alternatively, you could use information to ask the seller to fix the problems before you buy.
We would particularly recommend a survey if:
- you have any specific worries about any part of the property
- you feel unsure about what sort of condition the property is in
- you are looking to buy an old or unusual property
- the property has a thatched roof or is timber framed
- the building is listed
What sort of survey should you get?
There are a number of different types of survey. What you choose depends on the depth of survey you want and your budget.
Condition Report (survey level one – £300 or more)
A Condition Report is the most basic survey you can get, and the cheapest. Costs are £300 or more.
The report doesn’t go into much detail so may leave you wanting more:
- It is designed to complement the mortgage valuation
- It provides ‘traffic light’ indications as to the state of various parts of the property. Green means everything is ok, orange is some cause for concern, and red means serious repairs are vital
- It also provides you with a summary of the property’s defects and possible risks affecting the home
- It does not include any advice nor a valuation
HomeBuyers Report (survey level two)
A HomeBuyers Report is a more detailed survey and the most popular option according to RICS. There are two options in this category – you can choose to have a survey with or without a valuation:
HomeBuyers Report (survey only – £350 or more)
- A HomeBuyers Report will tell you any obvious major problems – obvious rot, subsidence, etc.
- The cost of a HomeBuyers Report starts at £350.
- But the surveyor is non-intrusive: they will not look behind furniture, nor lift up floor boards or drill any holes, so any report they draw up is limited.
HomeBuyers Report (survey and valuation – £450 or more)
- The HomeBuyers Report with survey and valuation includes all of the above features, plus a valuation and an insurance reinstatement value (how much you would receive were the building to burn down).
- The cost of a Homebuyers Report with survey and valuation is £450 or more.
Home Condition Survey (£400- £900)
Offered by the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) rather than RICS, Home Condition Surveys are:
- conducted by specialists in residential surveys and produced in a consistent, consumer friendly format
- include practical information such as broadband speed, damp assessment and boundary issues for the conveyancer to consider
- reports are independently checked to ensure consistency and quality
- Home Condition Surveys cost between £400-£900 depending on value of property
Building Survey (survey level three – £500 or more)
Building surveys (by RICS surveyors) are more expensive, but can be a worthwhile investment:
- The price of a building survey ranges from under £500 to about £2000 depending on the size of the home
- They are extensive surveys and you will be given a detailed report at the end
- The surveyor will get into the attic, check behind walls, and look between floors and above ceilings
- It includes advice on repairs, and provides estimated timings and costs, and will tell you what will happen if you do not do the repairs
- Unless specified, it probably will not include an insurance reinstatement value estimate, or a market valuation.
Survey costs by type of survey
|TYPE OF SURVEY||ESTIMATED COST|
|RICS Condition Report (survey level one)||£300 and upwards|
|RICS HomeBuyer Report (Survey only – survey level two)||£350 and upwards|
|RICS HomeBuyer Report (Survey and Valuation – survey level two)||£450 and upwards|
|RICS Building Survey (survey level three)||£500 and upwards|
|Home Condition Survey (offered by the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) rather than RICS||£450 and upwards|
|New-build snagging report||£300-£600|