Homebuyers survey is it worth it? Answered by SAM Conveyancing
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Homebuyers survey is it worth it

6 min read
We often get asked “is a HomeBuyers Report worth it?" because of the cost and sometimes running out of time before exchange of contracts. 

The issue is that according to RICS, on average homebuyers spend £5,750 on repairs once they move in. 

Defects like this can get flagged within a HomeBuyers Survey prior to exchange and used to negotiate with the seller which makes it worthwhile getting a survey. 

If you are buying a leasehold then read this article - 5 reasons you MUST get a home buyers survey for your flat!

When considering is a HomeBuyer Survey worth it you can make an informed decision by considering the following factors:

  1. Type of Property
  2. Condition of Property
  3. Age of Property
  4. Location of Property

In the article we examine all of the above in more detail including which types of properties best suit a HomeBuyer Report and which don’t, what defects are picked up in the report, what is the cost of a HomeBuyer Report and where it is not worthwhile getting a home buyers survey because there are some!

What types of HomeBuyer Surveys are there?

  • Level one: RICS Home Condition Report
  • Level two: RICS HomeBuyer Report (with and without a valuation and reinstatement value)
  • Level three: RICS Building Survey


    Type of Property

The type of property is critical because there are certain properties that do not suit a HomeBuyer Report and for which you’ll need a more specialist survey such as a Building Survey. 

For example, a steel frame house would better suit a Building Survey and would also need a RICS Building Surveyor who is competent in inspecting this property type. 

Here's where you can see all of the different types of property and information on whether a HomeBuyer survey suits any particular one - What type of survey do I need for which type of property?

How to negotiate with the seller?

When your HomeBuyer Report picks up a defect that affects the value of the property then it is advisable to negotiate with the seller to reduce the price being asked. If you need to know how best to negotiate with your seller then read our article - How to Negotiate When Buying a House.


    Condition of Property

A Homebuyer Report is not worthwhile on a property that is in a really bad condition, not because a survey isn’t needed, but because it is the wrong type of survey. 

The RICS states “The HomeBuyer Report is unlikely to suit…properties in poor condition or those where the client is planning to carry out extensive repair and refurbishment work". RICS go on to state “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".
Homebuyers survey is it worth it

Age of Property

Newer properties, under 10 years old, should have very little wrong with them and come with the original builder’s insurance against major defects. The insurance is normally provided by NHBC or Zurich, however smaller developers may have their own bespoke insurance.


    Location of Property

The location of the property can create a need for a more detailed survey to be undertaken. For example, if the property is built in a coal mining area.

HomeBuyers Survey is it worth it?

So the Homebuyers Survey is it worth it? The answer is yes, but only if the property being surveyed is a conventional house, flat or bungalow, built from common building materials and in reasonable condition. 

The HomeBuyer Report will look to identify visible defects that affect the property’s value. Here is a comparison of what is included in the HomeBuyer Report and the Building Survey:

What is included in the survey and what are its main focal points?
Level 2: HomeBuyer Report
Level 3: Building Survey
Describes the construction and condition of the property on the date of the inspection
Aims to identify and problems that need urgent attention or are serious
Aims to identify things that need to be investigated further to prevent serious damage
Aims to tell you about problems that may be dangerous
Aims to show up potential issues and defects, before any transaction takes place
Includes the standard visual inspection during which secured panels, electrical fittings, inspection chamber covers and other similar features are not removed
Aims to help you decide whether you need extra advice before committing to purchase
Aims to enable you to budget for any repairs or restoration
Aims to advise you on the amount of ongoing maintenance required in the future
An enhanced service that includes all the features of the standard inspection plus a more extensive roof space and underground drainage inspection
Provides a reinstatement cost to help you avoid under- or over-insurance
Provides market valuation
Aims to establish how the property is built, what materials are used and how these will perform in the future
Aims to describe visible defects, plus exposing potential problems posed by hidden defects
Aims to outline the repair options and give you a repair timeline, whilst explaining the consequences of not acting
A longer and more detailed visual inspection of a wider range of issues including a more thorough consideration of the roof space, grounds, floors and services

What is the cost of a Home Buyer Survey?

  • New Build - if you are buying a brand new property then you would not undertake a HomeBuyer Report. There is no value in getting the report and you would be better advised to get a snagging survey to pick up on build quality issues that can be then used to get the developer to make good any snags before or after you move in (subject to your contract).

  • In all other circumstances it is advisable to get a qualified RICS surveyor to review the property. Their years of training and hands-on experience will be invaluable in finding if there is anything wrong with your property. If there is then you can look to negotiate with the seller, if there isn't then you can rest easy knowing all is in order in your new home.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do I have to have a survey when buying a house?

    Getting a home buyers survey is not mandatory during the house buying process but your solicitor will advise you to get one. The reason for this is that your solicitor can only advise you on the legal documents and take no responsibility around the structure of the property.

    How much does a house survey cost?

    A HomeBuyer Survey costs from £450 upward based on the size and price of the property, and a Building Survey costs from £599 upward.

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    How to Negotiate When Buying a House, with SAM Conveyancing

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