Are property surveys really worth the cost?
When you’re purchasing a property, it can feel like the costs add up quickly. But there’s one purchase you shouldn’t scrimp on, and that’s your property survey.
Buying a home can come with unexpected costs. According to our research with home buyers*, 32% wished they’d saved more money than just their deposit. With solicitor fees, insurance and removals all adding up, having a survey done might feel like yet another thing you need to pay for – and something you might try to avoid.
While a survey isn’t mandatory, it is highly advisable. In fact, 22% of respondents said they wished they’d found a surveyor to help them avoid any unexpected repairs and maintenance.
What are the benefits of a survey?
A house purchase is likely to be the biggest financial commitment of your life, so it makes sense to understand if you’re making a good investment. With the starting price for a level 2 survey being £353 (including VAT) and the average house price at £272,259**, it’s a small price to pay to avoid expensive repairs.
When you viewed the property, you probably only spent around 30 minutes looking around. It can be a lot to take in, and the health and condition of the property might not have been front of mind. It’s also possible you didn’t see the whole property – think outbuildings, garages or the loft.
When you book a Level 2 survey, the chartered surveyor spends on average 2 hours (depending on size and complexity) inspecting the property in detail – more time than you would spend on a viewing. They’re also actively and objectively looking for issues or problems that could cause you expense in the future, and making recommendations to put you in the picture.
A property survey can:
- Reveal more than a valuation, especially as many valuations are now done
- Save you costly repair bills. According to The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), buyers who didn’t get a survey faced on average £5,750 worth of repairs when they moved in. 17% of these ended up paying more than £12,000 on average to make their homes habitable.
- Highlight issues that you can discuss with contractors. If the seller is unwilling to pay for repairs, you can negotiate the price to reflect the costs, or make an informed decision on whether the purchase of that property is still the right thing for you.
- Bring local knowledge into context. Our RICS surveyors have a broad knowledge of your area, and will know about the different types of properties, typical issues to look for and any past issues that might be relevant to your property.
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* Data from 'moving Out Stress Signals', research carried out by Legal & General in January 2022 sampling an audience of 1000 home buyers
** Nationwide data, as of September 2022