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What is the difference between a HomeBuyer Report and a Building Survey?

  1. Terry G from Leeds
  2. Surveys questions and answers


We are looking at buying our first home and are not sure if we need a Building Survey or if a HomeBuyer Report? Will the HomeBuyer report give us everything we need or is it better to get both? We have been told that the Reports are easier to understand but we do not want to miss out on important information if we just go for the simpler to read route. Can someone explain the main differences between the HomeBuyer Report and Building Survey with any major pros and cons?


A Building Survey is a customized service suitable for all residential properties and gives full details of their construction and condition.  You are likely to need this type of survey if, for example, the property is unusually built or run-down, if the property has been significantly altered, or if you are planning a major conversion or renovation. 

The RICS Homebuyer Report is a standard format, and is different to a Building Survey in three main ways.

  1. It is designed for particular types of home. These are houses, bungalows and flats that are of a tradition type and construction and are apparently in reasonable condition.

  2. It identifies what the surveyor considers to be the most important issues. By applying condition ratings to elements of the building, the services and any garages and permanent outbuildings, the surveyor will tell you whether defects are serious or urgent.

  3. It can also include the surveyor’s opinion of the market value and reinstatement cost (which you will need for insurance purposes). It focuses on matters that, in the surveyor’s opinion may affect the value of the property if they are not dealt with. As of 2016, market valuations are an optional choice and buyers can choose whether they would like the full HomeBuyers Report with, or without, the valuation.

reallymoving comment:

To find out further information about the different aspects of the Homebuyer Report and the Building Survey and which would be more appropriate for the property you purchase, take a look at our article, What Type of Survey do I Need?

Garrett O'Hanlon

Garrett O'Hanlon

MAP Chartered Surveyors

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Comments (3)

  • Wayne Norcliffe

    posted on 30 Sep 2012

    Also worth noting that there is a 'third way', i.e. the RICS Home Condition Report. This is similar to the Homebuyer report, but does not include the valuations and as such may be cheaper than a Homebuyer report. It's a similar format, i.e. prioritises the sections by red, amber green (3,2,1). It's another tool in the buyer's armoury Best regards Wayne Norcliffe BA (Hon's) DipHI Reg. Valuer, MIPP, MRICS

    Kate Dickens

    posted on 10 Feb 2013

    Quite a useful reply but any need to say the same thing three times?!

    Reallymoving response

    Thank you for pointing this out, Kate. We've corrected this now.

    james mathieson

    posted on 25 Feb 2017

    Your website is really interesting, my daughter will be selling her flat very shortly and we didn't know what a home report was, but it's very interesting and gave us a good insight with what to expect. Many Thanks

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