We were recently asked why our fee for a Building Survey was so much cheaper than that quoted by a mortgage lender. By way of an example take a recent client who recently paid their mortage lender close to £1000 for a HomeBuyer Report on an albeit large property in Bristol. After VAT, administration charges of 20% and a 45% fee to a panel manager (an intermediary who deals with all Surveys and Valuations for the lender) the Surveyor (us) received only around £400. If instructed direct our standard fee for a HomeBuyer Report would have been £500 and no VAT would have been payable.
Our fee levels are not the cheapest but they are competitive. Fees are based upon an allocation of around 7 – 8 hours for a HomeBuyer Report and 10 – 15 hours for an average Building Survey to include travel, inspection, dictation, checking, proof-reading and re-checking. There is also secretarial time and administration time to be added and often an hour or more in client discussion. In total fixed and variable costs account for around 33% of all fee income. As with instructions recived from lenders lower fees inevitably bring pressure to carry out two or more surveys per day which we feel could compromise the quality of reports and of service to clients.