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RICS HomeBuyers Report

(Last Updated: 12/02/2024)
8 min read

A Level 2: HomeBuyers Report is the middle level of inspection carried out for a buyer when purchasing a property by a RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Building Surveyor. The other types of survey are a Level 1: condition report and Level 3: Building Survey.

It is a visual inspection undertaken by a RICS Building Surveyor that provides a detailed assessment of issues that effect the value of the property. Since 2018 you can choose whether you want to include or exclude a current market valuation in it.

Whilst the HomeBuyer survey is the middle level, it doesn't mean that a Building survey is the best service you can buy. The majority of newer built (1930s onward) properties will only need a HomeBuyer Report and a Building Survey wouldn't identify any additional defects.

What is included in a HomeBuyers Survey?

Example HomeBuyers Survey

  • Inspection of the roof and loft space
  • Review of drains
  • Assessment for suspicions of subsidence or asbestos
  • Testing for Damp
  • Property valuation and reinstatement value
  • Inspects your demise and the communal area nearby
  • External review of property
  • Review of utilities (gas and electric)
  • The scope of work is detailed here: RICS Guidelines for HomeBuyers Survey

Example of a Level 2 Home Survey

The RICS Level 2: HomeBuyers report doesn't suit the following types of property:

  • large properties;
  • older or rundown properties such as Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian;
  • unique or altered building such as a cottage or thatched roof; or
  • if you are planning major works.

For these types of property you need to get a RICS Level 3: Building Survey which is also known as a full structural survey.

The objective of having different levels of survey is to allow home buyers the choice to spend less money for a survey that requires less work - the HomeBuyers Report Cost is considerably less than a Building Survey because the surveyor spends less time completing the service.

This doesn't mean if you did a Building Survey on a flat that the surveyor would spend more time.

It is that on a flat, for example, the service is delivered quicker because there are fewer things to go wrong in a newer built flat and the service takes less time to complete.

If you aren't sure which home buyers survey you need to get for your property then you can read this article HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey or speak to one of our home buyer survey specialists on 0333 344 3234 (local call charges apply).

What does a RICS HomeBuyer Report cover?

Sections of the Building Survey
What does a RICS HomeBuyer Report cover?
A. Introduction to the reportDeclaration that the HomeBuyer Survey is conducted by a RICS surveyor
B. About the inspectionDetails of the property
C. Overall opinion and summary of the condition ratingsGeneral overview of the property
D. About the propertyDetails number of rooms, age, type
E. Outside the propertyChimney stack, roof covering, rainwater pipes & gutters, main walls, windows, outside doors, conservatory & porches, other joinery & finishes
F. Inside the propertyRoof structure, ceilings, walls & partitions, floors, fireplaces, chimney breasts & flues, built-in fittings (kitchens but not appliances), woodwork, bathroom fittings.
G. Services Electricity, gas/oil, water, heating, water heating, drainage, common services.

It is important to note that the surveyor is not a qualified electrician or plumber and as such cannot test the gas or electrics. They can however turn appliances, hot water, lights and hob on and comment on any issues, if any.
H. Grounds (including shared areas for flats)Limitations (reasons why they couldn’t be inspected), garage
I. Issues for your legal advisersRegulation, guarantees. If the surveyor sees the property has been extended then it'll be this section where they inform you of this.
J. RisksRisks to building, risks to grounds, risks to people
K. Energy EfficiencyReview of energy efficiency of property
L. Surveyor’s declarationInformation about RICS Building Surveyor
What to do nowStandard information
Description of the Level 2 RICS HomeBuyers Report ServiceStandard information
Typical house diagramStandard information

HomeBuyers Report

Key points that are inspected are subsidence, damp and any visible sign of infestations.

HomeBuyers Report Costs

Level 2 RICS HomeBuyers Report Costs vary depending on location and surveyor. Your HomeBuyer Survey cost quote will be based on the size of the property or the length of time the surveyor estimates that the survey will take. Our RICS HomeBuyer Report cost is fixed regardless of the area of the country or the size of the property.

We’ll review the property with you over the phone and provide a competitive fixed cost for your HomeBuyers Survey, from £400 EXC VAT

Call and speak to one of our specialists on 0333 344 3234 (local call charges apply), or fill in our survey form to get a same day call back.

HomeBuyers Report Format

The HomeBuyer Survey is delivered is a standard format and the defects are graded by a traffic light colour.

Condition rating 3 - defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.

Condition rating 2 – defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be either serious or urgent. The property must be maintained in the normal way.

Condition rating 1 – no repair is currently needed. The property must be maintained in the normal way.

NI – not inspected.

If the surveyor is unable to view any parts of the property they’ll make a note of this in their report which is why it is important the estate agent and the seller give access to all areas in the property.

The condition rating is what should be used with any negotiation with the seller - read how to do this here - How to Negotiate When Buying a House

In a HomeBuyer Survey the surveyor won’t provide cost estimates for making repairs to the property for any of the defects noted. If you would like to get the costs for repairing defects included in your HomeBuyer Survey call us on 0333 344 3234.

Frequently Asked Questions
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written 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.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed 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.

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