Posted on: 19 Dec 2022 by James Brook, FRICS

How Much Does a House Survey Cost?

When buying a house, a survey is just one of many costs that need to be budgeted for. But how much should you expect to pay and what will you get for your money?

What is a house survey?

A survey is a detailed inspection of the condition of a property - how detailed will depend on the type of survey you choose. It will help you determine if the property is in the state you expect it to be and if the price you’re offering to pay for it is fair. While it may be tempting to think that this information is provided in the mortgage valuation, this isn’t the case, and a survey is essential for pretty much every property to help you avoid making any costly mistakes.

What affects the cost of a survey?

The main factor in the cost of a survey will be the type you opt for. Here there are a few options:

  1. Private Client Surveying

Unique to Novello, Private Client Surveying is the ultimate surveying service for homebuyers. With this bespoke, highly personalised service your surveyor will guide you through the process ensuring you are fully informed at each stage. From the initial onboarding call where you can discuss any specific concerns, to the most detailed building survey that results in a clear and comprehensive report, on to after care where you receive any impartial advice and guidance you may need, Private Client Surveying takes the stress and confusion out of buying a home and ensures you pay the right price for a property. The price for this service will start at around £1,300.

  1. Building Survey

Also known as a structural survey, this level 3 survey is the most detailed report available. A sensible choice for most homes, it is particularly recommended for properties that are more than 30 years old, have undergone significant works, are in poor condition or if you’re planning on carrying out any works yourself. A building survey will give you a thorough insight into the state of the property, inside and out. Significant issues and minor defects will be highlighted in a comprehensive report, along with maintenance options and any areas you may need to be aware of in the future. Depending on other factors, you should expect to pay between £1,000-£2,000 for this type of survey.

  1. HomeBuyer Report

A level 2 HomeBuyer Report may be suitable if the property you’re buying is of standard construction and appears to be in reasonable condition. Be aware that, although cheaper, a HomeBuyer Report is much less detailed and will only inspect visible areas of the property. It won’t delve any deeper, so don’t expect to find anything that may be hiding behind furniture or under floor coverings. You also won’t receive any advice on maintenance and repair costs, their implications or your options for repair. Prices for this survey would be in the range of £400-£1,000.

  1. HomeLevel Report

At Novello, we also offer a HomeLevel Report, which is more comprehensive and easier to understand than a HomeBuyer Report. With this we’ll assess a minimum of 20 internal and external elements in the property, including roofs, walls and windows, dampness and ceilings. We’ll then deliver this to you in a matter of days in a report that details any defects in a traffic light rating, so you can clearly understand the information presented to you. We’ll even include a bespoke summary report sent to your solicitor to ensure they understand any issues and our RICS-qualified surveyors are always on hand should you have any follow up questions or concerns. Expect to pay in the region of £900-£1,500 for this service.

Other factors affecting the cost of a survey

Several other factors also impact the price of a survey, including the cost of the property you’re buying and its location. So, while a building survey on a £300,000 house could set you back around £900, expect to pay in the region of £1,500 if the property is valued at nearer £1 million. Indeed, surveys on older, larger properties will cost more simply because they’ll take longer to carry out. If the house has parts that are difficult to access, this could also add to the survey cost.

As with most things, it’s always worth speaking to a few surveying companies and getting a few quotes. Remember that while you may be tempted to go for the lowest price, be sure to speak to each company to ensure they provide the detail and level of service and support you need, that they’re responsive and that they understand any concerns you have. You don’t want to slow the process down by waiting weeks for your survey results, nor do you want to proceed without all the information that will ensure you pay the right price for your new home.

Can I rely on my mortgage valuation?

With cash often tight during a house purchase, it can be tempting to look at the mortgage valuation, sometimes called a mortgage survey, and assume that it gives you all the information you need about your property. Be aware that this is a risky move, however. A mortgage valuation is nothing more than a cursory look at a property to assess whether your lender believes it to be worth the money you’ve offered for it so they can be confident in lending you the money. It doesn’t assess the condition of a property or identify any areas in need of work, a RICS-qualified specialist doesn’t carry it out, and it isn’t impartial.

Is a house survey worth the cost?

In short, not only is a house survey worth the cost, it could save you money in the long run for example:

  • if you’ve offered more than a house is worth,
  • if it’s hiding potentially costly issues,
  • if previous renovations haven’t been done to the required level
  • or if there are longer-term maintenance issues that could become expensive, a survey will pick up all of these things.

The Novello Approach

While a survey that highlights any areas of concern with a house is essential, even more important is receiving this information in an understandable form and being clear on the actions you should take once the survey results are in. It’s here that Novello’s Private Client Surveying service proves invaluable.

With Private Client Surveying, not only do you receive a highly detailed yet precise and accurate survey report delivered by a RICS qualified surveyor, but you also receive a dedicated, bespoke service so that your house purchase proceeds as smoothly and as quickly as possible, and, crucially, you pay a fair price for your new home.

In addition to all the usual information you’d expect to receive in a building survey, you’ll also benefit from advice, guidance, support and actionable information. This could include major costing estimates for work that needs to be done, advice on next steps and assistance with arranging quotations and further investigations, and even advice on a renegotiation strategy if necessary. We’ll use all our years of experience to ensure your purchase is pain-free and you can make an informed decision rather than risk making a costly mistake.

To find out more, contact us today or arrange a free consultation.