What Does A Property Surveyor Cost?

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Find a qualified property surveyor before selling

Hiring A Property Surveyor

If you are buying a brand new property or are considering purchasing an older building, using the services of a professional property surveyor is essential.

Maybe you are thinking about renovating your current home or have some concerns about structural stability due to movement or flooding. Whatever the reason, using the services of a property surveyor can eliminate any worries you may have about the state of the property.

Reliability of service as well as the property surveyor cost might be foremost in your mind, so finding a professional who has been recommended can be a good idea.

Look for someone who is registered and accredited under the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). RICS surveyors complete a long apprenticeship and achieve a degree.

Photo of a house which requires a full property survey
A full property survey will be required if the building is older and more likely to have problems. Photo © PAUL FARMER (cc-by-sa/2.0)

What Does A Property Surveyor Cost?

A short homebuyers condition report will typically cost around £250. A RICS homebuyers report, which is suitable for any conventional building, will cost around £400. This type of report will show up any issues with subsidence or problems with dampness.

You can also ask for a house valuation report to be included and this will allow you to decide if the asking price is viable.

A full RICS building survey can cost upwards of £500 and a full structural survey is more expensive starting at £600. If you only need a snagging report on a new build you can expect to pay around £300.

The location and type of property will always influence the property survey costs.

Photo of a thatched cottage for sale
An older house, such as a stone or thatched cottage, is more likely to require a full property survey with increased costs. Photo © M J Richardson (cc-by-sa/2.0)

What Does A Property Survey Show?

If you are buying a property you can choose what kind of property survey you want. Even if you are purchasing a new build you may decide to have a survey to identify any snagging issues.

Older properties will require a serious in-depth survey and you may choose to go for a full RICS building survey. This will show a full analysis of the condition of the property and will include advice on how to remedy any defects and also provide some tips on how to maintain the property in the future.

It is also important to have a full property survey done if you are buying a renovation property.

A full RICS building survey is always recommended for properties that have undergone extensive changes, any properties that are older than 30 years, listed buildings and properties constructed in a non standard form. The survey will identify both major and smaller defects and what they will cost to rectify.

Photo of a new build house
A property survey on a new build house is sometimes called a snag report. Photo © Rob Burke (cc-by-sa/2.0)

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How To Find A Property Surveyor

Once you have put in an offer on a property the next step is to engage a property surveyor. A local surveyor is the best option as they will be cognisant of property values and any special problems that might arise in the specific area e.g. flooding, subsidence or landslides.

Although many large companies advertise property survey services, an independent surveyor is liable to give you a better and more personal service.

Additionally, an independent surveyor will take time to understand your particular needs and will not have any relationship with an estate agent or conveyancer. This means you will get a truly independent report with no bias. Unusual properties like windmills or chapels will require an inspection by a surveyor who specialises in that type of property.

Photo of a street with brick houses
If possible, try to use a local property surveyor. They are more likely to be aware of issues such as flooding risk or other local problems. Photo © Robin Stott (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Surveying A Rental Property

If your ambition is to become a private landlord and buy a property to rent out to tenants, it goes without saying you should commission a property survey before making any kind of investment.

While this is separate from any AST tenancy agreement you may have with your tenant, it will highlight potential problems which could affect your legal standing before you purchase your buy-to-let property.

Accredited UK Property Surveyors

Chartered surveyors should have the initials MRICS or FRICS after their names. Members of RICS will show whether they are associate members, members or fellows. There are also property surveyors that are not accredited to RICS.

Some choose to be members of an alternative organisation, the Residential Properties Surveyors Association (RPSA) and others hold qualifications through other bodies like the SAVA School of Surveying.

RICS sets certain standards and using a surveyor accredited through this organisation means you will be getting a fully qualified and experienced expert. RICS surveyors deliver a single international standard that ensures you will get a full report that allows you to make a decision before completing on any property purchase.

Survey on a buy to let property
If you are buying a property to rent out, you should carry out a full survey to avoid unexpected surprises. Photo © Bernard Sharp (cc-by-sa/2.0)

How Long Does A Property Survey Take?

A home-buyers survey is short and will take from 90 minutes and 4 hours to complete. A more in-depth building survey can take up to 8 hours. However, the time taken will depend upon the type of survey, the location and size of the property.

After the survey is completed you can expect a homebuyers survey to be delivered in around 3 to 5 working days. A full survey may take longer and can be expected around 8 days after completion.

When you appoint a surveyor you should ask for an estimated timescale for the results. Although waiting for results can be frustrating it is worthwhile holding off any further negotiation with the seller until you get the report. Always factor a property surveyor cost into your budget when searching for a home and read the results carefully before committing to buying any property.

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