House survey costs in 2024

Last updated: May 2024 | 3 min read

Discover the cost of a house survey and determine which type of survey would be most suitable for the property you're purchasing. This article explains the differences between surveys and their benefits for the buyer. 

House surveys are very important when buying a house, to pinpoint any issues in the property, that may require attention. Knowing survey costs is a key step.

Equip yourself with insights for a savvy approach to your property investment by studying the costs of buying a house.

What is a house survey?

House surveys involve a professional assessment of a property's condition. They are conducted by chartered surveyors.

These surveys range from basic condition reports to comprehensive structural investigations.

Each type aims to uncover any issues within the property, ensuring buyers make informed decisions. Understand them properly to select the right one for your needs.

Here's a more detailed article on a homebuyers survey.

Why do you need a survey?

More often than not, a survey reveals major problems. Surveys can save you from unexpected repair costs later.

These surveys provide detailed insights into the condition of the property, highlighting issues like structural problems or dampness that might not be visible during a routine viewing.

Knowing about these factors early on can influence your decision to buy, your negotiating power on the property price, and how you plan your budget for future maintenance.

The initial cost of a survey is a good investment compared to the expenses of unanticipated repairs.

How is the survey cost determined?

The house survey cost can vary depending on three key factors:

  1. The property's location.

  2. The type of survey chosen.

  3. The value of the property.

Breakdown of house survey costs by type

RICS Home Survey Level 1: Condition Report

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Home Survey Level 1, known as the Condition Report, is designed to give you an overview of a property's condition.

It uses simple 'traffic light' ratings to highlight different parts of the building, services, garages, and outbuildings, showing the degree of attention each requires. This report is cheaper compared to more detailed surveys.

The costs for a condition report lie between £300-£900, depending on the property's size and location.

Ideal for newer homes or well-maintained properties, condition reports provide a straightforward assessment, highlighting urgent defects without detailed advice.

RICS Home Survey Level 2: Homebuyer Report

The RICS Home Survey Level 2, or Homebuyer Report, suits a broad range of conventionally built properties. It's more detailed than a Condition Report, focusing on urgent and significant issues that affect the property's value.

Unlike the Condition Report, it includes the surveyor's professional opinion on the 'market value' of the property.

Prices for homebuyer reports are between £400 – £1000 depending on the property's size and complexity.

These reports suit buyers looking for detailed insights into a property's state without a full structural analysis.

This report is a smart choice for those buying a home in reasonably good condition, seeking reassurance on its overall state.

RICS Home Survey Level 3: Building Survey

The RICS Home Survey Level 3, formerly known as the Building Survey, is the most comprehensive survey offered by chartered surveyors. This survey is a full structural survey, tailored for larger or older properties, or if you're planning significant works.

Including detailed examination and advice on defects, repairs, and maintenance, building surveys can cost between £630 – £1500.

Given their depth, these surveys provide peace of mind for those investing in high-value or potentially risky properties.

Detailed information is provided about the structure and fabric of the property in this survey. It includes an extensive inspection and detailed report on a wide range of issues including a thorough check of the attic, checking behind walls, and looking between floors and above ceilings.

You can get a better idea of RICS house survey cost by looking at a sample report on the RICS website.

RPSA Home Condition Survey

The Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) Home Condition Survey differs from the RICS reports. It's designed to be user-friendly, providing an easy-to-understand report without jargon.

This survey includes information on the construction and condition of the property, advice on repairs and maintenance, and identifies any legal issues you should be aware of.

It offers two types: a Home Condition Survey and a Building Survey. A specialist buy-to-let survey for landlords can also be found in RPSA surveys.

It's typically suitable for standard properties and new builds. You can find out the costs by getting a survey quote from RPSA.

Factors influencing house survey costs

Property value

House survey costs often correlate with the property's size. Larger properties require more time to inspect, resulting in higher fees.

A small apartment might incur a survey cost at the lower end of the typical price range, while a large family home might attract fees at the upper scale.

Buyers should consider obtaining a few quotes from local surveyors to gauge average costs for their specific property type and size.

Age and condition

Older properties, especially those over 50 years old, normally require a more thorough inspection due to potential structural problems and the need for ongoing maintenance. Hence, surveys for older properties can be more expensive.

Newer properties, with adherence to recent building regulations and likely fewer issues, often incur lower survey costs.


House survey costs in the UK vary by location. You'll find that survey fees in densely populated areas or regions with a higher cost of living, like London or the Southeast, generally exceed those in other parts of the country.

This increase reflects the city's significant property price tags and the greater complexity often involved in surveying properties in the capital, many of which are older or have unique architectural features. If you're buying in London, expect to allocate a bit more for your survey budget.

The high demand for surveyors in urban centres, combined with elevated living and business costs, contributes to these regional price differences.

When planning your house survey, consider this geographic pricing factor, particularly if you're looking in or around major cities.

Additional services incurring more cost

Sometimes, a standard house survey isn't enough. You might need additional services like a more in-depth structural survey by a structural engineer, especially if the property survey reveals potential issues.

Extra fees in a house survey become relevant in several situations. These can include when the property surveyed is unusually large or complex, necessitating more time and detailed analysis by the surveyor.

Complex features, like timber frames or thatched roofs, might also drive up the cost. Another instance of additional fees is when requesting specific checks, such as for asbestos or damp, which are not typically included in standard surveys.

New build snagging surveys are done on new constructions to find out if there are any problems. If there are, the builders are supposed to rectify them.

Home survey reports, while increasing upfront costs, can provide peace of mind and save money in the long run by identifying issues early.

Dealing with unexpected findings

Unexpected findings in a house survey report can often lead to additional expenditure. If issues like structural defects, roof problems, or subsidence are uncovered, these will usually need further investigation by specialists.

Costs can escalate quickly, especially if such problems require immediate attention.

Home buyers should budget for potential surprises and consider these findings in their negotiation strategy for the property's purchase price.

Is a house survey worth the cost?

Here are the long-term benefits of a detailed report:

  • Peace of mind by highlighting any immediate repair work.

  • Avoiding unexpected repairs later that may catch you by surprise.

  • Highlighting and estimating costs of any future maintenance requirements.

  • Effectively budgeting for both short-term and long-term property upkeep.

  • Negotiating to demand a fair purchase price.

  • Making an informed decision about the purchase.

This upfront investment in a survey can ultimately save significant money, stress, and time in the long run.

Choosing the right surveyor

Select a qualified surveyor for your property survey. Their expertise can significantly influence the accuracy and usefulness of the survey.

A surveyor's role extends beyond just identifying potential issues; they offer essential insights and advice on the property's condition. Get a few house survey quotes and compare.

How and where to find a qualified surveyor


Finding a qualified surveyor starts with research. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) offers a database of certified professionals. Choosing a RICS surveyor ensures adherence to high professional standards.

Another resource is recommendations from estate agents, although it's advisable to research independently for unbiased options. Always check the surveyor's qualifications, experience, and area of specialisation.


The Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) is another notable body representing residential surveyors in the UK. Members of RPSA are known for their focus on home surveys specifically.

Opting for a member from RPSA or RICS guarantees a professional adhering to strict ethical guidelines and professional standards. It also provides an added layer of trust and assurance in the survey's quality and the surveyor's credibility.

The difference between a home survey and a mortgage valuation

A mortgage lender usually requires a mortgage valuation survey to ensure the property's value covers the loan amount.

While this might involve some level of inspection, its primary purpose is for the mortgage lender's benefit.

Home surveys focus on the condition, safety, and potential repair needs, providing you with a detailed report to help make an informed decision.

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