House survey costs, the differences between a HomeBuyer’s report, building survey and condition report, and what the best type of survey might be for the property you’re buying.
Types of house survey
Most surveyors provide three types of survey: a condition report, a HomeBuyer’s report and a building survey. While the HomeBuyer’s report tends to be the most popular, there are no hard and fast rules about the type of survey you should get.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) provides a basic template for each of these surveys, and most surveyors who are registered with Rics will adapt the templates to fit their own style.
Surveyors registered with the Surveyors and Valuers Accreditation (SAVA) scheme offer an alternative – the Home Condition Survey. This survey is similar to the Rics
Quick Survey Guide by RICS
Survey level one: RICS Condition Report
Shows the condition of the property, offers guidance to legal advisors and highlights any urgent defects. Typically the lowest priced of the surveys, it is aimed at conventional properties and newer homes.
Survey level two: RICS HomeBuyer Report
There are two options:
HomeBuyer Report (survey)
Note: this a new service which is under development.
Includes all the features of the RICS Condition Report. It also includes advice on defects that may affect the property with repairs, and ongoing maintenance advice
HomeBuyer Report (survey & valuation)
Includes all the features of the RICS Condition Report, plus a market valuation and insurance rebuild costs. It also includes advice on defects that may affect the value of the property with repairs, and ongoing maintenance advice
Survey level three: RICS Building Survey
Essential for larger or older properties, or if you’re planning major works. The most comprehensive report provides you with an in-depth analysis of the property’s condition and includes advice on defects, repairs and maintenance options
Understanding your house survey
House surveys are often complicated, and it can be difficult to get your head around some of the jargon.
The diagram below from Rics shows the names of different parts of a building to help you decode your survey report.
Do I really need a survey?
At a time when you’re already spending a lot of money, a survey can seem like a big expense. However, it’s far better to be aware of any issues before you buy a house so that you can make an informed decision about how much you’re willing to pay for it and, if necessary, budget for any repair work that will need doing.
You may also be able to use the information in the survey to negotiate with the vendor. For example, if your survey finds that you will need to undertake repairs costing
£10,000 you could ask for a £10,000 reduction in price, or alternatively ask the seller to make the necessary repairs before you exchange contracts.
House survey costs
The figures below give a rough idea of what you might pay.
|Estimated survey costs|
|Value of property|
|Up to £99,000||£100,000 – £249,000||£250,000 – £349,000||£350,000 – £499,000||£500,000+|