With the average house price in the UK now at over £270,000, buying a home is a major financial undertaking. In fact, in our area of south-east England, the average stands at over £430,000, with many properties in excess of £1million. With property prices so high, it is more important than ever to make sure you have the right survey to make your home buying decisions as safe as possible.
What do you get from a house survey?
House surveys arm buyers with essential information about home purchases and sales. A survey is designed to give prospective buyers an informed view of the condition of a property. If there are no current or potential defects, buyers can proceed with peace of mind.
On the other hand, if there are issues, surveys give buyers a solid basis for negotiating a reduction from the asking price. An understanding of the costs of remedial works also helps from a budgeting point of view. While mortgage lenders will undertake their own valuations, surveys can also be involved in lending decisions.
What are the types of house survey?
RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) sets the standards for home. From 1 September 2021, RICS has introduced new formats for reports with the aim of making surveys clearer, with the details buyers need.
The new format surveys feature a traffic light system on the condition of the property, just as Robinson Elliott reports have done:
Defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.
|3||Defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.|
|2||Defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be either serious or urgent. The property must be maintained in the normal way.|
|1||No repair is currently needed. The property must be maintained in the normal way.|
|NI||Not inspected – if any element cannot be inspected it is reported as NI.|
Level 1 Home Survey – RICS Condition Report
Our Level 1 surveys are professional reports on the condition of the property. They are based on visual inspection inside and outside of the property, including windows, roof space, exposed floors, services, permanent outbuildings and grounds.
This basic overview doesn’t cover advice on repairs, and is suited to modern homes which are built to normal standards and are in sound condition. Level 1 reports cover the same ground as previous versions of Homebuyers Reports.
Level 2 Home Survey – RICS HomeBuyer Report
Level 2 surveys are based on an inspection of the building, inside and out, and reports on the type of construction and significant visible defects. The survey covers as much of the property as is physically accessible, but does not involve lifting floorboards and carpets, moving heavy furniture or removing panels and hatches. If it is safe to do so, we will also go into the loft to inspect the roof structure. The report will also include advice on repairs and maintenance.
Level 2 Home Survey with valuation – RICS HomeBuyer Report
The inspection is carried as for a standard Level 2 Survey, and a valuation section is added. The valuation covers market value, any legal issues and reinstatement (rebuilding) costs for insurance purposes.
Level 3 Home Survey – RICS Building Survey
Level 3 Surveys include a thorough inspection of the property and a detailed report. They give you information you need for planning repairs or upgrading the property, as well as reporting on possible hidden defects, as well as risks to the building, grounds and people at the property. These in-depth surveys are particularly appropriate for older, larger and higher value buildings. Level 3 Surveys were previously known as structural surveys.
Costs of surveys
Factoring in the cost of a house survey into your budget when buying a home is a great way of ensuring that you are able to afford this all-important property report.
As a guide, prices are in the following ranges:
|Type of Survey||What’s Covered?||Suitable For||Guide Price|
|Level 1 Home Survey / RICS Condition Report||Visual inspection inside and outside. No advice on repairs.||Modern homes in good condition.||£300 – £700|
|Level 2 Home Survey / RICS HomeBuyer Report||Inspection of all accessible parts of building, plus advice on repairs and maintenance.||Conventionally built homes without any significant defects.||£600 – £1200|
|Level 3 Home Survey / RICS Building Report||Thorough inspection and detailed report including method of construction with advice on repairs and maintenance, and cost estimates.||Older, larger, higher value homes, and buildings featuring non-standard construction.||£1500 – £2500|
|Valuation||Estimation of property value / reinstatement costs.||Mortgages, insurance.||£200 – £600|
Here at Robinson Elliott Surveyors, we have many years of experience of surveying residential properties. Survey costs vary with different properties and we always ensure that our surveys and reports meet the needs of our clients.
The property landscape in the south east of England is exciting and vast with many different types of buildings available to purchase. From a quaint village cottage to spacious urban townhouses, our inspections and reports are tailored to each individual property. When it comes to surveys there is no one-size-fits-all approach, although in all cases, we follow the professional standards set by RICS.
If you would like to find out more about how much it would cost to produce one of our detailed Home Surveys, please do not hesitate to contact one of our qualified property surveyors at Robinson Elliott. You can also find out more about the locations we operate in within Sussex, Kent, and the South-East of England.
Do I need a house survey?
Research shows that buying and selling a home is one of the most stressful life experiences. Homes involve a considerable financial investment. Buyers need to know about any problems, actual or potential, and a house survey will bring them to light. Buying without a house survey is a risk which we would never advise our clients to take.
Surveys are technically an optional extra. For those buying and selling property for investment purposes, a house survey is an important guide to deciding which properties to add to their property investment portfolio.
For buyers on a tight budget, it might seem attractive to save the cost of a survey and to spend instead on something for the new home. However, a house survey may provide a vital safety net, and could be the only indication that you are purchasing a home with defects and other issues.
If you are applying for a mortgage, your lenders will conduct their own valuation of the property which may give the impression that critical issues have been inspected. The cost of this valuation is sometimes included in the terms of your mortgage offer or can be added to the loan. However, a valuation is not a survey. Rather, it is for the benefit of the mortgage lenders, to help them determine whether the property is a safe investment for the loan.
Our first time home buyer’s guide details the many different factors that need to be considered when purchasing your first home.
With extensive experience in all types of property and areas in the South East of England, a Home Survey from Robinson Elliott Chartered Surveyors can help ensure your property will be safe and in a good state of repair, and that you are paying the right price for your new home.
To find out more get in touch with Robinson Elliott Chartered Surveyors today to discuss surveys for your property.