You should try to get realistic estimates of the numerous costs that will be involved for repairs to the property before you exchange contracts and proceed with the purchase.
Even if you do not have the time or availability to get a detailed specification written, ‘opening up’ done or consider options for alternative approaches it is essential that at the very least you get some ‘ballpark’ guidance from experienced building conservation professional trades on the potential costs of repairs and renewals.
A survey report does not include a schedule of anticipated costs, and neither is it expected to. It is your responsibility to follow up on the advice and information provided so that you are confident that the property is within your financial budget – not just for the initial purchase, but for the years ahead. You should do this as soon as possible, and certainly before you exchange contracts for the purchase of the property.
You should always obtain your own independent quotes and cost budgets from the relevant conservation trades.
For any one repair, there will often be more than one way of dealing with it. This is absolutely normal and often these options will only be understood later following further inspection, closer access or opening up. To allow for these uncertainties, you should also make sure that you have access to a contingency fund over and above the cost estimates that you receive. There is no fixed way of doing this, but a useful ‘rule of thumb’ might be about 25%. Also remember that VAT at the standard rate will need to be added. For example, if you expect a repair to cost about £10,000 then adding VAT brings this to £12,000. Adding the 25% contingency sum would mean you need to allow for £10,000 + £2500 = £12,550 + VAT = £15,000. You should follow this approach with all cost estimates and quotes.
There will be many repairs mentioned to you. To avoid constant repetition you are to take the important advice that in all cases you should satisfy yourself that the combined initial purchase and subsequent repair costs are within your financial budget before you proceed to exchange contracts for the purchase of this property. It is your responsibility to do this. You could put yourself at severe financial risk if you fail to do this.