Buying A House Is Really Expensive, So Is The Additional Expense Of A Survey Really Necessary?

March 3, 2023

The real estate market has seen a whirlwind in recent years as a result of the stamp duty holiday, which pushed many people to relocate earlier than they had anticipated. Currently, recent data indicates that the UK housing market has begun to slow down after prices established a new high for six consecutive months, although this slowdown is not expected to be as significant as first anticipated.

If you are going to begin shopping for a house or have already begun the process, you will be thinking about all of the extra expenses associated with purchasing. You will have to choose whether or not to have a home survey done in addition to the deluge of solicitor letters, estate agent calls, and legal documentation you have to deal with (and pay for!).

What is a house survey?

A house survey is a qualifying examination of the home you want to purchase. An experienced surveyor will visit the property, evaluate it from the inside out, look for any issues, and then write a report outlining their findings for you.

In England and Wales, a survey is often conducted after the seller accepts a buyer’s offer. In Scotland, however, the seller is required to provide the buyer with a home report on their property.

Depending on the stage you choose and the size, age, and condition of the property you are purchasing, a home survey might take anything from an hour to an entire day to complete.

The surveyor has to be a member of one of the two recognized organizations listed below:

  • Chartered Surveyors Royal Institution (RICS)
  • Association of Residential Property Surveyors (RPSA)

While RPSA offers two levels of a survey, RICS offers three. Depending on the age and condition of the property you are purchasing, you may require one of the following surveys:

Level 1 RICS Home Survey

The simplest survey you can do is this one. Instead of getting into specifics, it provides a broad picture of the property’s status and highlights critical concerns.

You may choose level 1 to ensure that everything seems to be in order if the property is less than ten years old, in decent shape, and a contemporary, conventional dwelling.

RICS Level 2 Home Survey and the RPSA Home Condition Survey

For homes that are in acceptable condition, this level of examination is often used. It includes everything in level 1, as well as any continuing maintenance issues, necessary repairs, and anything else that can reduce the value of the property.

Additionally, it will highlight anything that violates the most recent construction codes, like dampness or subsidence. Remember that only visible problems — those that can be seen without peering beneath floors or behind furniture — will be found.

Level 3 RICS Home Survey and RPSA Building Survey

This is the most thorough survey, so it will take longer to complete and cost more money, but it will provide you with a lot more details on the property.

It is advisable to choose this comprehensive inspection if the property is older, in extremely bad shape or unique in any other manner. It includes everything on floors 1 and 2, and the surveyor will investigate more closely by peering beneath floorboards and up in the attic, among other things.

The surveyor will be able to provide projected prices and timelines for repair work for any concerns mentioned in the report.

Before I purchase, do I need a home survey?

As the cost of living pressure persists, you may be tempted to forego having a home study done since purchasing a property is pricey.

If you uncover an issue that might have been identified before you completed the transaction, not having a property study may cost you.

A survey provides you with professional insight into the property, allowing you to decide whether you wish to proceed with the purchase or if issues are revealed that would need considerable repair expenses, re-negotiate the selling price.

Do not mistake a survey for a mortgage valuation, which is sometimes referred to as a mortgage survey. Your mortgage company does this to ensure that the property is worth the price you want to spend for it.

A valuation, however, does not usually need a person visiting the property to evaluate it, and it does not provide the same degree of detail that a home survey offers. As a result, you should independently plan your home survey.

What can I learn from a house survey?

Make sure you thoroughly research potential surveyors before hiring one so that you are aware of precisely what will and will not be checked before you pay them to visit the property.

According to RICS, its surveyors want to provide purchasers with knowledgeable guidance on:

  • General condition: Here is a summary of the property’s design and construction.
  • Defects: This will provide advice on any significant flaws that need to be fixed.
  • Further investigation: This will draw attention to issues that you should investigate before they seriously harm the structure of the building.
  • Safety hazards: These are significant flaws or problems that might be dangerous.

Additionally, the survey will consider the following:

  • the outside of the building. This will only cover the building’s roof, chimney, and other exterior features when seen from ground level.
  • Surfaces. The study will examine the surfaces of exposed floors and under-floor locations where access is available.
  • both inside and out. It will include both the interior and exterior as well as any enduring outbuildings sold together with the property.
  • Services. The survey will examine the drainage, water, heating, gas/oil, and electrical supplies where they are visible. However, none of them will be examined, so if you want to learn more about these services, you will need to do further research.
  • Whatever areas of the property that could not be reviewed for any reason and would typically be evaluated as part of a survey will also be included in your survey report. The surveyor will highlight that further research is required if they raise any issues.

If I buy new construction, do I need a survey?

Since the demand for newly constructed houses has decreased to pre-pandemic levels, now is a favorable time for buyers to start their search. You will not need a home survey if the property you are purchasing is new construction. However, it would be wiser to spend the money on a snagging report.

A snagging report will indicate flaws with the new home, including aesthetic concerns like cracks in recently painted walls and even broken plug sockets. When doing snagging reports, some surveyors additionally check the outside for any structural or building flaws, such as cracked brickwork and inadequate guttering.

Before they arrive, speak with the surveyor to ensure that anything you want examined gets examined. To get the problems resolved as quickly as feasible, you may provide your builder or developer with the details listed in the snagging report.

How much does a home survey cost?

The price of your home survey will vary depending on a few factors, such as:

  • Property size and type
  • Location
  • Which surveyor do you decide to hire?

Before choosing a contractor, it is essential to receive a few bids.

As a general rule, the cost of a level 1 survey starts at roughly £500 for a home valued between £100,000 and £249,000 and rises to around £950 for a property valued between £500,000 and £1 million.

Expect to spend between £500 and £1,000 for a level 2 survey, and between £700 and £1,500 for a level 3 study.

Whatever you choose, make sure you do your research and are well aware of what you are purchasing before exchanging contracts. It truly pays to be well-informed, and by getting a property survey, you might perhaps avoid any unpleasant shocks in the future.

If you’re looking to sell or let your home with a Lee On the Solent Estate Agent, Stubbington Estate Agent, Gosport Estate Agent, Fareham Estate Agent, Portsmouth Estate Agent then please do no hesitate to email on or call on 023 93 960 169.

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