Surveys: Money down the drain or a necessary investment?
If you are torn over whether to get a survey, Kharla Mullen has some helpful advice. Here she explains the various types of survey and whether you will get any bang for your buck
In a previous article, we looked at why getting a survey is so important for potential buyers.
Within this, we highlighted key areas such as how surveys can uncover hidden defects, provide financial protection and offer long-term piece of mind. Importantly, we also summarised the difference between a survey and a mortgage valuation.
These are key points which might be worth revisiting before reading any further as, for the purpose of this particular piece, we are now going to focus on the costs attached to a survey and dispelling the myth that surveys are an unnecessary cost.
After all, being forewarned is forearmed. Choosing the right survey will help highlight any serious problems and advise you of the specific risks before committing to the process of buying or selling a property.
What are the three main types of home survey?
Breaking this down, there are three main types of survey and these should only be conducted by a fully qualified surveyor who carries the full weight of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – the industry’s most respected surveying authority – on their shoulders.
RICS Home Survey Level 1
Choose this report if you are looking to buy a property and want to know if there are any obvious issues that can be identified via a visual inspection. It will also include information on broadband speed, local amenities, transport links and crime.
This is suitable for ‘standard’ properties and new homes.
RICS Home Survey Level 2
Choose this report if you need more extensive information whilst buying or selling a conventional house, flat or bungalow, built from common building materials and in reasonable condition.
RICS Home Survey Level 3
Choose this report if dealing with a large, older or run-down property, a building that is unusual or altered, or if you’re planning major works.
It costs more than the other RICS reports because it gives detailed information about the structure and fabric of the property.
How much does it cost to take out a survey?
When taking account how much a survey costs, this will vary depending on three main factors:
- the type of survey you have
- the property’s value
- the property’s location
As a general rule of thumb:
A RICS Home Survey Level 1 typically costs between £300 and £900. Around £300 for a property valued at £100,000 and £900 for a property valued at £1m – to offer some perspective.
A RICS Home Survey Level 2 typically costs between £400 and £1,000. Around £400 for a property valued at £100,000 and £1,000 for a property valued at £1m.
A RICS Home Survey Level 3 typically costs between £600 and £1,000. Around £600 for a property valued at £100,000 and £1,300 for a property valued at £1m.
To find out the exact costs, many surveyors have a simple online survey calculator which can do the necessary calculations.
So, is it worth paying out for a survey?
Now for the big question – is a survey worth it?
As we’ve already outlined, a survey will help make potential buyers aware of any present issues or problems which may occur in the future. It could also arm buyers with the necessary information to renegotiate on purchase price if any major concerns – and potential costs – are raised.
At this juncture, it’s important to point out that it remains the purchaser’s prerogative regarding which type of survey to opt for – or whether they have one at all. However, not having a survey, or the right level of survey, could lead to a string of expensive issues upon completion.
So, while there is a short-term cost attached to getting a survey, it will provide peace of mind for the future and help avoid any unexpected costs further down the line.
Kharla Mullen is chief operating officer at Countrywide Home Surveys