Image by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash.
There are two main kinds of house survey in England and Wales – a Building Survey (Level 3)
and a HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2)
. A Building Survey is more detailed and is suitable for older buildings, or buildings that have undergone significant alteration. A HomeBuyers Survey is the less comprehensive of the two, and as such it can be more difficult to know exactly what it includes.
What is a HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2)?
A HomeBuyers Survey (otherwise known as the Level 2 RICS Survey) is essentially a general health check on a property. It is an independent review of all visible and accessible parts of a property. It is ideal for most modern homes and for older homes that appear to be in a decent condition and have not had significant work done on them.
You can read our article to find out more information about the details of a HomeBuyers Survey
. If you’re not sure whether a HomeBuyers Survey is right for your property, have a look at our article on what type of survey you need
How much does a HomeBuyers Survey cost?
You can probably expect a HomeBuyers Survey to cost around £400-£1000. However, the cost of the HomeBuyers Survey is very dependent on the size, age, type and condition of the property, so it could easily be more or less than that.
It’s also worth remembering that different firms charge different amounts, so it’s advisable to shop around to find a RICS Building Surveyor for the best deal. Get quotes from up to five RICS registered Surveyors
You can find out more about the costs involved in a HomeBuyers Survey
House survey checklist: What do surveyors look for in a HomeBuyers Survey?
A HomeBuyers Survey includes:
- A visual inspection of all major indoor features including ceilings, walls, roofs and bathrooms, and all permanent outbuildings and outdoor features.
- Background information on property and location.
- Assessment of damp-proofing, insulation and drainage.
- Damp tests on walls.
- Condition of building timbers.
- Inspection of heating, drainage, electricity and gas/oil – however remember the surveyor is not an electrician or plumber and the most they’ll do is check they are functional.
- Estimate of cost of rebuilding for insurance purposes, known as a reinstatement value.
- Any problems that might affect the value of the property.
- Details of faults in easily-accessible parts of the property that require further investigation by a specialist before you sign the contract – for example, signs of subsidence.
- Details of urgent problems that require immediate investigation – for example, a suspected gas leak.
- Current valuation (optional and may incur an extra cost).
What doesn’t a HomeBuyers Survey cover?
A HomeBuyers Survey does not cover:
- Inspection of any part of the property that is not visible or is inaccessible. It may be covered by furniture, or it may be unsafe for the surveyor to inspect it. If a place is inaccessible it should be declared so in the report. A Building Survey is a more detailed inspection and will include assessment of non-visual components of the property. However, neither survey includes any inspection or assessment that would put the surveyor at risk.
- Communal areas, for example the lift in a block of flats.
- An in-depth inspection of electrics, gas, plumbing or heating systems. However they will be able to advise you on what to do next if they suspect there is a problem.
- Temporary outbuildings.
- Roof spaces in blocks of flats, unless there is a hatch in the flat.
A HomeBuyers Survey is a great option if the property is relatively young and appears to be in good condition. But if you have reason to be concerned about anything the HomeBuyers Survey doesn’t cover, it might be worth seeing whether it would be included in a Building Survey.
Your surveyor will send over a report by either post of email and most are happy to go through the report with you on the phone, or answer any questions you may have. If any of the points mentioned aren’t clear, or you have further questions, don’t hesitate to chat to your surveyor about your HomeBuyers Report.
Updated January 2023 by Jeremy Greer