Surveys provide a vital service during the homebuying process. They give valuable insight into the condition of the property and highlight problems that will need to be addressed in the future. Armed with a survey, buyers can negotiate the price, and ensure that they don’t end up paying over the odds.
What’s the purpose of a survey?
A survey focuses on identifying any issues with the property. There’s no legal requirement to have one, but they are recommended. Otherwise, you’re essentially purchasing the house or apartment ‘blind’, which could result in undertaking expensive repairs in the future.
If you’re purchasing a new-build, you won’t require a survey. This is because newly built properties usually come with a 10-year warranty.
What types of survey are there?
There are three different kinds of survey on offer via RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors):
- A Condition Report
This survey is fairly basic, and as such, it’s the least expensive option. You can expect to pay between £250 and £300. The resulting report will include details about the following:
- The basic condition of the building
- The basic condition of the outbuildings (if there are any)
- A review of the services
It’ll flag up any issues that need further investigation, which may result in additional costs. A Condition Report is only really suitable for more modern properties, which are in a good state with no obvious problems.
- A Homebuyer Report
This survey is more comprehensive and often includes an optional valuation. The report will outline the following:
- A more in-depth inspection of the building and out-buildings
- A list of issues that might affect the value of the property
- Information about the surrounding area
- Legal considerations
- Advice on maintenance and repairs
This type of report usually costs around £350 (£450 with a valuation included).
- A Building Survey
A Building Survey is the most extensive of the three options, and as a result, it’s also the priciest. It’ll report on the following:
- All issues in the property (including those that might not be immediately obvious)
- A summary of all the defects, even those that are relatively small
- Advice on maintenance and repair, and how much it might cost you
- Warning about what might happen if you don’t take on the necessary repairs
- Advice for your solicitor
This type of survey is best suited to older properties, particularly those that are in a bad state. They’re also the right choice for listed or unusual buildings, or those that are particularly large. Expect to pay £500 or more.
RPSA (Residential Property Surveyors Association) also offers surveys:
- Home Condition Survey
Like RICS’ Condition Report, this is the most basic option, and covers the following:
- Identification of major defects
- Analysis of environmental factors affecting the property
It also includes up to 20 photos, highlighting problem areas.
- Building Survey
This option is a good ‘all-rounder’ and is more in-depth. It includes the following:
- Identification of major issues (and more minor ones)
- Analysis of environmental factors
- Repair advice and recommendations
- Prediction of the property’s condition in the future
As with the more basic option, this includes photos (up to 40). RPSA surveys cost between £400 and £900.