As a rough guide, the cost of a survey for most properties will fall within the range of £300 to £1,200, depending on type of property, type of survey, level of detail, experience of the surveyor, geographical location, whether a valuation and insurance rebuilding cost are included, etc. For larger properties the fee could be anything upwards of this figure. If a firm is VAT registered then VAT will be added to the surveyor’s fee and so you should check whether the fee quoted is inclusive or exclusive of VAT.
The cost of a survey will vary depending on a number of factors including:
- Size of property. Clearly, a house with more rooms will take longer to inspect and this will affect the cost of a survey.
- Age of the property. Many older properties have been the subject of alterations and improvements, some of which may be detrimental to the property. Alterations give the surveyor more issues to consider during the course if the survey.
- Type of property, eg, house, flat, maisonette.
- Complexity of the property, eg, whether there are any extensions, whether any alterations have been carried out, whether there are any flying or submerged freeholds, etc. Typically, a surveyor carrying out a survey will ask the vendor about any alterations and other works which they have carried out. However, some surveyors may simply report that a client ‘s solicitor should make enquiries on such matters.
- How detailed the report will be. Survey reports vary considerably. A surveyor who prepares a detailed report will clearly need to take more notes and photographs than a surveyor who merely reports “satisfactory” “in need of repair”, etc.
Survey with valuation and/or insurance rebuilding cost
A survey cost can vary if any additional services are required such as a valuation figure and/or insurance rebuilding cost. This will clearly affect the time input and therefore the cost of the report.
Cost of a survey when carried out by the mortgage valuer at the same time as the valuation
If you are taking out a mortgage then there may be an option to have a survey carried out at the same time as the mortgage valuation. The mortgage lender will choose who carries out the valuation but remember that it is you, the buyer, who chooses who carries out the survey as this will be carried out on your behalf. While this may be a cost effective way of having a survey, some purchasers prefer to have the survey carried out by a surveyor who has been recommended to them, eg, by family, friends or their solicitor.
Surveys on flats
Some purchasers are surprised at the cost of a survey on a flat. Flats vary significantly. A flat may be small, with, say, four rooms, but if it forms part of a large building then it is likely that the Surveyor will need to inspect the external parts of the block, or possibly other blocks on the site. The terms of the lease must be checked before the survey is carried out, and all areas which the flat owner is either wholly or partly responsible for must be inspected. This may include roof coverings, roof spaces, walls, drives, parking spaces, walls, etc. In some cases a survey on a flat will take longer than a survey on a small house, and this is likely to be reflected in the price of the survey.
You can find names of Chartered Surveyors in your area by contacting the RICS Find a Surveyor facility on ://www.ricsfirms.com/
It is a good idea to forward the sales details for the property to a small number of Surveyors to obtain quotations. When you obtain quotations for surveys, ask for sample reports so that you can compare the level of detail in addition to the price. Also, ask who will be carrying out the survey and check that you are happy with their level of experience. Remember that price is not the only factor in choosing a surveyor.