Getting a house survey completed is an essential part of many property purchases. When you are spending such a large amount of money on a house, you want to know everything there is to know about it – including its size, boundaries, features, any issues, and more.
It is totally natural if you feel slightly anxious when the time arrives to pay for a house survey. After all, there are different types for you to choose from, with some making suggestions for repairs and maintenance that you can make – so it is important that you select the right one.
In our blog below, we have provided a clear outline of the different types of house survey, including the cost of each one. Keep reading to find out all the answers you need.
What is a property survey?
A property survey involves a thorough inspection of a house, by a qualified expert, to outline all the features and issues. The more in-depth the survey, the more it will usually cost you.
You may pay for a property survey if you are interested in buying a house. This could involve looking at:
- Property boundaries
- Neighbour disputes
- Roofs, walls, doors, windows and more
- Defects you may not have noticed, such as damp, outdated boilers or poor heat retention
- Square footage
Once you have a property survey completed, the idea is that you know everything there is to know about the house – and can therefore make an informed decision about whether to buy it, and for how much.
Each report is conducted to different levels of detail depending on the price paid.
Why do I need a property survey?
By paying for a property survey, it can protect you from unwanted surprises. It is unfortunately common for someone to only discover a problem with a house after it has been purchased – and, in some cases, these hidden defects may have changed the buyer’s decision to purchase the property in the first place.
To avoid this scenario, a survey will look into everything possible, including things you might not have thought about. This includes any ongoing legal disputes, boundary issues, upcoming developments in the area, inability to extend the house, and more.
Paying for a survey will put you in a stronger position as a buyer, because if there are electrical faults or structural repairs that you were otherwise unaware of, you can amend your price accordingly and therefore not overpay for the house.
If you want to read more about the most common house survey problems, then click on the link.
What does a property survey include?
The level of detail of your property survey will depend on the amount you pay, as well as who you hire to do it. There are also different types of survey, which include different things.
The three main types of house surveys available include:
This is often referred to as a ‘level one survey’, as it is the most basic type that you can pay for. You can expect to fork out between £300 to £700 for this survey, although it may be slightly higher if the house is particularly large, or if you are in a more expensive area. Lots of potential buyers opt for this route if the house already appears to be in excellent condition, and if they have already inspected the property closely themselves.
A Homebuyer report is considered a ‘level two survey’, meaning that is slightly more in-depth than a condition report. This type of survey involves assessing any defects with the house, as well as advising on ways to maintain the property.
You may also have a market valuation included in this type of report, although this sometimes involves an additional fee.
On average, a homebuyer survey costs around £300 to £850 in the UK.
Full building survey
A full building survey is the most in-depth inspection that you can pay for, and will usually set you back between £400 to £1,350, depending on the size of the property, its condition, the company you use, and your location.
With a typical full building survey, you can expect to receive:
- An expert opinion on the house’s condition
- Advice on defects and repairs
- Tips for maintaining the property
- Features that may cause problems further down the line
- An accurate market valuation
It is sometimes essential that you pay for this type of survey if your house is in particularly bad condition. Amongst all the issues, there may be problems that you miss out on, and getting a thorough inspection can therefore save you thousands of pounds in the future.
Likewise, even if a property is seemingly ‘perfect’, it may be even more worthwhile paying for a survey, to make sure that things aren’t too good to be true.
How to choose a surveyor
You will undoubtedly have lots of surveyors to choose from in your local area – and if you are working with an estate agent, they may encourage you to use a surveyor that they recommend.
The most important thing is that your surveyor is qualified, and belongs to governing bodies such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Sava, or RPSA. While price will also be a factor in your decision, keep in mind that choosing the cheapest surveyor you can find may result in more unexpected problems in the future – and could therefore cost you much more in the long term.
You should speak to local friends or property owners and ask if they have any recommendations for excellent surveyors. Any professional you opt for should also ideally have plenty of positive, independent reviews.
How long does a property survey take?
Your surveyor may spend a few hours inspecting the property, or perhaps even a full day, depending on the type of survey and the size of the house. From here, they will create a report that summarises all their findings, and you will usually receive this within a couple of weeks at the latest.
Are house surveys required in the UK?
No, house surveys are not a legal requirement. It is completely legal to buy a property anywhere in the UK without paying for a survey.
It is strongly recommended by most property experts that you do pay for a survey, however. You cannot trust homeowners to be completely honest about the defects when they’re selling their house – and during the ‘viewing’ stage, they may hide any issues so you cannot detect them yourself.
There are countless examples of people saving themselves thousands of pounds in the long term by paying for a survey. Not only can it prepare you for any issues further down the line, but it can give you the opportunity to amend your offer, depending on any problems that are discovered.
In Scotland, it is common for a property seller to take on the responsibility of having a home report available when the time comes to list a house on the market.
Sell your property with We Buy Any Home
There are plenty of reasons why you may be selling your house – from facing repossession, to downsizing, or even selling a house after a divorce. Whatever your reason, We Buy Any Home can help you to complete the sale within a matter of days. Get in touch for a free, no-obligation valuation.