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  • The Homebuyer Report - What is it?

    16th August 2018

    The Homebuyer Report – What is it?

    This is a level 2 survey suited to most types of property.


    An Overview of this report:

    • An inspection of the property
    • A report (providing a valuation and reinstatement cost as standard unless selecting the new ‘survey only’ version)
    • Homebuyer Report – this is the RICS version of the report
    • Home Condition Survey – this is the RPSA version of the report


    Why get a Level 2 Homebuyer Report / Home Condition Survey?

    • Be informed about the property your are buying
    • Understand if the price is fair (if selecting valuation option)
    • Understand repairs required
    • Understand what further advice or inspections are needed

    The home buyer survey report will rate each part of the property using a traffic light system:

    • Condition rating 3 – serious defects needing urgent attention
    • Condition rating 2 – defects that aren’t serious but need repairing or replacing
    • Condition rating 1 – no repairs required
    • NI – not inspected

    The valuation will be based on a number of factors and assumptions such as the property not including any furnishings or removable fittings. The condition of the property will be taken into account relative to other similar properties that have sold in the area in recent months.


    Which properties is it suitable for?

    Age: usually no more than 80 years old. The older the property gets the more likely there are defects that will have developed. There is less chance of certain issues having developed in newer properties meaning the inspection often doesn’t need to be as detailed to spot issues.

    Style: conventional / standard style properties (not grand designs!)

    Building Materials: common building materials (e.g. Brick and mortar or timber framed)

    Condition: a reasonable condition as far as you can tell. If there are signs of cracking or other structural issues this survey level is too basic

    Alterations/Extensions: not suited to properties that have had large alterations or extensions (or if you are planning a large extension and need advice on the suitability of adding one)


    How does it compare to a Building Survey?

    The table below shows the core differences to a Building Survey or Condition Report. At it’s core the level of detail that is provided in the report is a big factor and with it the amount of time spent inspecting the property. Typically a homebuyer report inspection can be up to 90 minutes with a building survey typically up to 3 hours. This is a guide only a varies significantly based on the property size. The point to remember is that a Building Survey inspection is longer than that of a Homebuyer Report. This is because the surveyor typically only highlights the issue and will spend less time than in a Building Survey examining the exact cause and establishing advice to rectify.

    RICS Survey comparison table showing the difference between a homebuyer report building survey and condition report
    Source: RICS


    What does the surveyor look for?

    Your chartered surveyor will look for all major and minor defects evident throughout the property (including the roof space) and any permanent outbuildings. Remember, your surveyor can only inspect what is accessible to them and visible. The inspection looks mainly at visible issues and focuses less on hidden defects – something that the Building Survey would provide.

    A homebuyer report is unobtrusive meaning they will not lift floor coverings (e.g. carpets, floorboards), drill into walls or move heavy furniture. Where there is access to hidden areas (such as under floorboards) they will inspect this if there are loose floorboards or hatches that can be lifted. The surveyor doesn’t want to cause unnecessary damage to the property you are looking to buy.

    Your surveyor will inspect all the visible elements of the:

    • Roof structure
    • Ceilings
    • Internal walls
    • Floors
    • Joinery (e.g. staircases)
    • Fireplace and chimney breasts
    • Roof and chimneys
    • External walls
    • Windows
    • Rainwater pipes/gutters
    • Garage
    • Outbuildings
    • Grounds


    What equipment does my surveyor use?

    • Damp meter – test for any moisture readings around the property
    • Binoculars – to help get a better view of elevated areas of the property (e.g. roof/chimney)
    • Torch – to see into awkward spaces
    • Ladder – access roofs and internal hatches up to 3m from the ground
    • Drain keys – access to drainage hatches


    Limitations to a survey

    Services (e.g. gas, electrics etc) – These are often hidden within the walls and floors. Your surveyor can inspect the visual parts advising on the condition they appear to be in. Remember, your surveyor is like a GP – they can provide a general idea of the condition of these services from what they can see but they are not specialists and so will not conduct specialist tests or establish the efficiency of any services, however, they will often check to see that the fittings work.

    Inspections are not obtrusive – they will not drill into walls or lift carpets as they are not able to damage the property. However, due to their knowledge and experience they are usually able to take small signs and piece together the jigsaw to establish if there are potential issues or not and if they warrant further inspections.


    Unsure on which report to get?

    Take our questionnaire to see which survey you need for the property you are buying.


    Can I just survey the property myself?

    Yes, of course. You can request a much longer second viewing to try and look for issues. However, what a surveyor offers is the knowledge and experience to look for more than the obvious visible issues. Through understanding the obvious and the subtle factors from what they can see, hear, feel etc they can piece together much more than meets the eye.

    As well knowledge, surveyors take with them a number of tools to help them test for things they can’t see – binoculars, torches, damp meters and often more.


    How much is a Homebuyer Report / Home Condition Survey?

    Typically start at £450. Many factors affect this from the property size to age to location.

    Get Quotes


    Our Opinion

    Go for the highest level of detail you are comfortable paying for. The higher level surveys ensure the property is inspected to a much finer detail helping to prevent anything from slipping through the net. The cost of a survey is to ensure you don’t end up footing a bill down the line repairing issues you didn’t know existed.


    For a full breakdown including terms of engagement see:


    RICS Description of a Homebuyer Report (Survey and Valuation) and Terms of Engagement

    RICS Description of Homebuyer Report (Survey only) and Terms of Engagement



    RPSA Home Condition Report Terms of Engagement

    RPSA Home Condition Survey Example