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Damp surveys are commonplace. In fact they have almost become the rule rather than an exception. Why? To be fair, they’ve always been fairly common but since the economic crash of 2008 and the onset of the age of austerity, mortgage lenders have very much been ‘tightening their belts’. Most damp surveys are a result of surveys that have been carried out for mortgage funding – be that a conventional mortgage, re-mortgage or equity release. Damp surveys have almost become just one of the list of associated costs of buying a home. With that in mind, let’s look at damp survey costs across the UK.
The pitfalls of damp survey costs
Before we move on to look at what a damp survey is actually going to cost you, it’s worth setting a bit of context. As we’ve already said, there’s been a fairly sharp rise in requests for damp surveys. Mortgage lender surveyors really only do what could be described as a ‘light touch’ survey when they produce a Homebuyers Report. They will take random moisture meter readings around a property and reference any adverse readings in their report.
This essentially puts a condition on the mortgage. The instruction being that a damp specialist must be engaged to assess the severity of the damp problem and quote for any remedial work and treatments required… before the mortgage will be granted.
Unfortunately, this is carte blanche for unscrupulous individuals and companies. Many businesses offer ‘free’ damp surveys. The old adage ‘if it looks too good to be true, it probably is’ applies here. In this day and age you are very unlikely to get anything for free. It’s common for such firms to diagnose rising damp problems (often that aren’t really there) and recommend expensive treatments. Before you know it, the damp survey costs that were free have morphed into a potentially very expensive quote for work on the property.
This is why it is always best to employ the services of an independent damp surveyor – a registered chartered surveyor with the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), accredited with the relevant qualifications, such as CSRT (Certificated Surveyor of Remedial Treatments), or a member of a trade body such as the PCA (Property Care Association). Click here to learn How to find an independent damp surveyor.
How much does a damp survey cost?
Hopefully, you will take this advice on-board, but it doesn’t alter the fact that you need a damp survey carrying out. So, what should a damp surveys cost? How much can you expect to pay?
Of course, it’s a bit of a ‘how long is a piece of string’ situation when trying to offer a guide price for damp survey costs. A lot depends on the size of the property (obviously) and the nature of the survey itself. It’s not as simple as saying, ‘I want a damp survey’ – there are several types or levels of survey available that most companies offer, from specific packages aimed at pre-purchasers, homeowners, the rental market, commercial, etc
Overall though, based on a typical 3-bed terraced house or semi-detached house, the typical prices for a damp survey (depending on the level of it) should range between £150-£350, from a fully registered, accredited professional independent surveyor.
Although prices (as you would expect) are a little higher in London and the South East, the differences in costs aren’t as pronounced as for some other types of work. Indeed, even in London, you can find prices for damp surveys (perfectly adequate for virtually all situations) for £200-£220.
With £150 probably at the lower limit of the expected price range, many companies offer special deals. For example, a damp and timber survey combined for £200-£250.
Add-ons such as same-day or next-day reporting usually costs around £50. Similarly, you might see quotes of £30-£50 per ‘extra room’ beyond the usual three covered in damp survey costs.
A local professional, CSRT qualified, but not independent might offer services for £50-£100, and of course then you have the ‘free’ options. There will be, and are, perfectly reputable individuals/companies who operate in this way. The best advice if you are considering down this route is to remember that their genuine independence might be in questionable – and you should always do a bit of digging about any company anyway: check reviews, look at testimonials and ask lots of questions before committing.
To conclude, damp surveys are now so common that damp survey costs have to be factored-in to most scenarios. We all want a good price, but the advice in this article should help to ensure you get a fair price.