How Much Does a House Survey Cost?

woman carrying out house survey

If you are buying a house, you should always set aside money for some form of survey. Surveys are designed to give you more information about the property you are buying and can be an important tool in deciding whether to proceed with the purchase or negotiate a better price.

House surveys range in the level of detail they provide and how much they cost. Understanding the differences between surveys will allow you to make an informed decision about which survey is best for your purchase.
Let’s discover how much a house survey costs and why they are so important.

What is a House Survey/Homebuyers Report

A house survey is undertaken by an independent surveyor who has no vested interest in whether the property sells or not. Their job is simply to look over the property, identify problem areas and then compile a report with their findings.

Some surveys are cheap and only encompass a cursory look over the property. These are commonly known as homebuyers reports and will outline how the property compares to a checklist.

Full home surveys are much more detailed, and surveyors have been known to meticulously look over every aspect of a property including identifying ‘below-surface’ problems. These surveys cost more on average than a basic survey however you may find price discrepancies between different surveying companies.

Difference Between Conveyancing and Surveys

When you purchase a property, you will be provided a litany of information from your conveyancers. Property searches identify all aspects of documentation related to the property. For example, has planning permission been granted for the rear extension?

You can also pay for additional specialist searches such as water searches to identify flood risks and any liability you may have if buying a property near a water course.

Surveys differ because they are physical inspections of the property as opposed to the paperwork searches your conveyancer completes. Both are invaluable as both provide crucial information about the property you wish to buy.

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Difference Between Mortgage Valuations and Surveys

Sometimes buyers opt not to get a property survey because they have already been charged for a mortgage valuation. This is a common issue due to the misconception that lenders check properties in as much details as a surveyor.

The truth is some lenders send someone to physically inspect the property, however this is becoming rarer. Most lenders now undertake drive-by valuations and do not physically inspect the property beyond a visual confirmation the exterior looks suitable, and the property exists.

A lender valuation also serves a completely different purpose. The lender is concerned about risk and will conduct a valuation to ensure the property is of the right construction for their loan and also the valuation is fair.

A survey is designed to show defects that a mortgage valuation would likely miss.

Type of House Surveys

There are three main types of survey:

  • Condition Reports or Level 1 Surveys
  • Homebuyer Survey or Level 2 Surveys
  • Full Building Survey or Level 3 Surveys

In rare cases you may need a specialist survey if the property is listed or has unusual construction materials. Condition reports are basic surveys, and a surveyor might only spend thirty minutes looking around the property. Recording any glaring issues in their report.

Homebuyer surveys are more detailed, and a surveyor works down a checklist of factors to check.

Full building surveys will encompass both level 1 and 2 aspects of the survey as well as checking the property structure and scrutinising concern areas thoroughly.

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Factors that Can Affect the Price of a House Survey

The price of the survey is largely dependent on the amount of work a surveyor needs to do. A general rule of thumb is the lower the level of survey, the cheaper it is to commission.

Another factor that impacts the cost of surveys is the company you choose. Some companies have deals and offers for various surveys and you may find the cost of a full survey with one company is comparable with a level 2 survey with another company.

The best bet is to shop around and get a few quotes for the survey type you want.

Boon Brokers can refer a suitable surveyor for your requirements.

What Happens if the Report Finds a Problem

If the report highlights a problem, you need to evaluate the gravity of the issue. Problems are not created equal and some issues with a property can be remedied easily whereas others will need extensive time and effort to fix.

If you do not want to do the work yourself, you can request the seller remedies the problem before the purchase completes.

If a seller does not have the financial means or inclination to remedy problems, you can ask them to reduce the purchase price to reflect the time and cost of fixing the issue.

If the seller is not willing to reduce the price or do the remedial work, you should walk away if the problem is severe enough to impact the property price.

Sometimes sellers are delusional and expect to have their cake and eat it when it comes to property sales, but they will soon learn a problem that crops up on one sale will continually pop up. They are effectively delaying their chances of selling the property without having the bargaining position to command the price they expect.

Is a Survey Worth the Cost?

Absolutely, and if possible, you should commission a level 3 survey.

A good example of why surveys are good ideas is if a property has dry rot or subsidence. You may miss this on your viewing and if you buy without a survey, you could find the problem costs more than the property value to fix.

When you factor in how much a serious property issue could cost you, the small outlay for the survey is a no brainer more often than not.

Get Advice from a Mortgage Adviser

Boon Brokers is a Whole of Market Mortgage, Insurance and Equity Release Broker. Boon Brokers provides fee free mortgage advice and can recommend a suitable surveyor for your requirements.

Contact Boon Brokers to discuss your property purchase, obtain a mortgage in principle and get tailor-made buying advice today.

Gerard BoonB.A. (Hons), CeMAP, CeRER

Gerard is a co-founder and partner of Boon Brokers. Having studied many areas of financial services at the University of Leeds, and following completion of his CeMAP and CeRER qualifications, Gerard has acquired a vast knowledge of the mortgage, insurance and equity release industry.