Need help choosing between Level 2 and 3 Home Survey?
Call or message, provide the postcode, and we'll tell you whether you need a Level 2 or a Level 3 Home Survey and explain why.

Fixed Fees from £400 EXC VAT with nationwide availability, from 27/02/2024*. Reports delivered within 5 working days**.


"Competitively priced service, the agent I dealt with was very helpful. On the day of the survey itself I received a call from the surveyor to run through his initial findings. The quality of the report produced was excellent, very detailed and thorough. If needed I will be using SAM Conveyancing's services again in the future for sure."

What Is The Difference Between Level 2 and Level 3 Survey

28/11/2022
(Last Updated: 30/01/2024)
9,889
8 min read
National Coverage for your Level 3 Home Survey

National Coverage
Panel of RICS Surveyors for your Level 3 Home Survey

Panel of RICS Surveyors
Same Week Availability for Level 3 Home Surveys

Same week availability*
Costs for a Level 3 Home Survey

Cost from £499 INC VAT
Reports In 5 Days for Level 3 Home Surveys

Reports in 5 Days**
Key Takeaways


When buying something as expensive and complex as a home, you want a professional to inspect it and tell you if there's anything you should be worried about. Getting the right level of survey is essential for homebuyers. Level 3 is the most comprehensive but is more expensive than level 2 and is not always necessary.

Choosing between a RICS Homebuyer Report or RICS Building Survey can be confusing for home buyers, especially when choosing the wrong survey can mean you don't get the right level of detail to flag all the defects with your new home. The names of the surveys can be equally confusing. For example, a Building Survey is called a Level 3 Building Survey but is also known as a full structural survey.

This article will explain the difference between level 2 and level 3 surveys from RICS (also known as level 2 home buyers report and level 3 building survey), and which is the right choice for you. Read more - When should I get a survey done when buying a house?

16% of homeowners discover defects

In our recent survey, 16% of homeowners found defects; including 2% who were able to pull out of a bad purchase, 7% who were able to negotiate a better price, and sadly, 7% of homeowners who did not get a survey and discovered defects after the purchase.

12 of the 39 who remembered how much these defects cost to remedy spent over £5,000

Don't burn your money, book a survey.

RICS Surveyors | Fixed Fees | Same week availability | Access arranged

BurnMoneyWaste.png

Home survey level 2 vs level 3 survey

The Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which regulates member surveyors, looks to clarify the differences between the HomeBuyer Report and Building Survey and states:

Level 2 Home Survey
Known as the HomeBuyer Survey
Level 3 Home Survey
Previously called Full Building Survey or Full Structural Survey

"This level of service is for clients who are seeking a professional opinion at an economic price. It is, therefore, necessarily less comprehensive than a survey level three service. 

The focus is on assessing the general condition of the main elements of a property. The inspection is not exhaustive, and no tests are undertaken. 

Concealed areas normally opened or used by the occupiers are inspected if it is safe to do so (typical examples include roof spaces and cellar areas). 

There is, therefore, a risk that certain defects may not be found that would have been uncovered if a more substantial inspection had been undertaken"

"This level of service is for clients who are seeking a professional opinion based on a detailed assessment of the property. 

Therefore, the inspection is more extensive than for levels one and two, and the surveyor will spend considerably longer at the property."



A Level 2 Building Survey, or RICS Level 2 Home Survey, is a detailed report on the condition of a conventional property based on a physical inspection of the inside and outside of the building. It suits modern properties made from conventional building materials and construction methods. If the building is older, more unusual or in poorer condition, you will need a level 3 survey instead.

A level 2 survey includes a non-intrusive inspection, so the surveyor will not lift fixed floors or drill into walls, but they will advise on any visual defects as well as visual signs of potential defects which may need further investigation.

What Does a Level 2 Home Survey Cover?

  • Describes the construction and condition of the property on the date of the inspection
  • Problems that need urgent attention or are serious or may be dangerous
  • Things that need to be investigated further to prevent serious damage
  • Potential issues and defects
  • Whether you need extra advice before committing to purchase
  • Amount of ongoing maintenance required in the future & budget for any repairs or restoration
  • Market valuation and reinstatement cost to help you avoid under- or over-insurance
  • Broadband speed and mobile data
  • Noise from traffic and aircraft
  • Secured panels, electrical fittings, inspection chamber covers and other similar features are not removed

A Level 3 building survey, now called a RICS Level 3 Home Survey, is a more detailed and comprehensive report based on a physical inspection of the inside and outside of the building. A level 3 survey is suitable for properties over 50 years old, listed buildings, those which are unusually constructed, in poor condition, or which you intend to renovate in a way which will alter the fabric of the building.

What Does a Level 3 Building Survey Cover?

  • Construction and condition of the property on the date of the inspection
  • How the property is built, what materials are used and how these will perform in the future
  • Budget for any repairs or restoration, ongoing maintenance, repair timeline, & the consequences of not acting
  • Problems that need urgent attention or are serious or may be dangerous
  • Visible defects, plus potential problems posed by hidden defects
  • Things that need to be investigated further to prevent serious damage
  • Whether you need extra advice before committing to purchase
  • Broadband speed and mobile data
  • Noise from traffic and aircraft
  • Accessible panels, electrical fittings, and inspection chamber covers will be inspected where it is safe to do so
  • More consideration (than Level 2) for Roof space, underground drainage, grounds, floors and services


One of SAM Conveyancing's Survey Specialists will answer your enquiries and help you choose the best survey option for your property, by phone or email, for free.

Do you have a question about our surveys?

Call us or send us a message, to request a call back or an email answering your queries about our surveys. Our UK based survey team can help you choose the right level home survey for your property, at no extra charge.

There's no obligation to instruct. We'll make sure you understand your options and provide a free, fixed fee quote for our best value survey to meet your needs. No robots, no call centres. Property challenges solved.



Level 3 surveys don't include a current market valuation or reinstatement value. So, although they are more comprehensive regarding the property inspection, if you require a valuation, you will need to arrange this separately.

Level 2 vs level 3 survey cost

Aside from what's included, the main difference between level 2 and level 3 surveys is their cost. While level 2 vs level 3 survey costs differ depending on the property and its location, a level 2 survey will cost in the range of £400 - £1000. A level 3 survey cost will range from £630 - £1,500.

Remember that if you're booking a level 3 survey, you may also need to book a valuation. These can be added to the cost of your survey. Ask your SAM Conveyancing executive to arrange it for you.

What's included? Difference between Level 2 Home Buyers Survey and Level 3 Building Survey

The difference between the Homebuyer Report and Building Survey is considerable because of the level of further investigation required within the Level 3 Building Survey. The table below shows this:

A home buyer wonders what is the Difference Between Level 2 and Level 3 Survey? Answered by SAM Conveyancing


Should I do a Level 2 or Level 3 survey?

For most modern properties of standard construction, you should do a level 2 survey. If you are purchasing an older or unusual property or one which has been extended or developed, you should do a level 3 survey. If you're unsure, get in touch, and a team member will call you back to talk you through the decision, free of charge.

You may think it is always simpler to book a Building Survey and leave no stone unturned. However, many properties don't need the level of detail found in this survey, so the more affordable HomeBuyers Survey is better suited. The cost difference between the two surveys can be considerable, so you shouldn't pay more to find out more when there is no further detail to provide. We'll never upsell a more expensive service if it's not adding any value to you.

Help Me Choose

RICS Surveyors | Fixed Fees | Same week availability | Access arranged

Frequently Asked Questions
2in3
WorthIt
L2
OR
MISSED
CHOOSE
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing
Written by:
Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Reviewed by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.

People also search for

What type of survey do I need? With SAM Conveyancing

What type of survey do I need

02/12/2019
12,347
A common property defect: damp. SAM Conveyancing discuss the risks of buying a house without survey

Buying a House Without a Survey - What Defects Can Be Missed?

07/10/2019
18,838