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What is a HomeBuyer Report?

Learn about what a HomeBuyer Report includes and find out when you might need one.

What is a HomeBuyer Report?

This guide covers everything you'll need to know about a HomeBuyer report, including:
  1. What is a HomeBuyer Report (Level 2)?
  2. What is included in a HomeBuyer Report?
  3. What happens if your survey finds an issue?
  4. The cost of a HomeBuyer Report
  5. Why do I need a survey?
  6. Other types of HomeBuyer surveys
  7. Where to find a surveyor

What is a HomeBuyer Report (Level 2)?

A HomeBuyer Report (or HomeBuyer Survey) is a survey to find and document any problems in a property that could cause damage and need future repairs, such as damp or subsidence. A HomeBuyer Report is carried out on homes that are in a reasonable condition and only checks for easily visible problems.

The HomeBuyer Report will not detail every single aspect of the building, but it can reveal issues that might impact the value of the property and need further investigation. It will include all major sections of a property that are visible to the surveyor, so they will not lift up floors or carpets and wiring will not be included.
If you have a property that is in need of renovation or that you intend to alter, we recommend you choose the more comprehensive Building Survey (Level 3) instead of a Homebuyer Report.

What is included in a HomeBuyer Report?

The HomeBuyer Report includes:

  • Background information on the property and location

  • An estimate for the cost of re-building the property for insurance purpose

  • An assessment of any damp-proofing, drainage or insulation in the building (although drains are not tested)

  • Condition of the building’s timbers and checking woodworm or rot

  • Damp test results taken from the walls

  • Details of urgent problems which should receive specialist attention before signing a contract

  • Details of major faults in easy to get to parts of the property that may affect its value

The HomeBuyer Report is easily understood - written in plain English rather than technical jargon.

Condition Ratings

The RICS HomeBuyer Report has 3 condition ratings to evaluate and describe the condition of the property and how urgently it needs repairing. The conditions are defined by RICS as:

  • Condition Rating 1 – no repair currently needed

  • Condition Rating 2 – defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be serious or urgent

  • Condition Rating 3 – defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently

​What happens if your survey finds a problem?

Most surveys will find some sort of issue, especially with older properties. If you have any concerns you can highlight these with the surveyor before they carry out the inspection. Most surveyors are usually happy to talk through the report with you over the phone after you've received your report - so if you do have follow-up questions, that would be the time to ask.

Some of the most common things you might want to investigate are: 

  • Electrics
  • Issues with the roofing 
  • Central heating
  • Damp
  • Structural problems which may need an engineer

If you find any of these issues you may need to take further action, such as: 

  • Ask the surveyor how much it might cost to fix these issues
  • Get a quote from a builder/ professional for major works 
  • Renegotiate the asking price or ask the seller to fix the issues before you complete on the sale
Have a look at our article on what to do after a bad survey for more information on the next steps.  

The cost of a HomeBuyer Report

A HomeBuyer Report (Level 2) is well suited for newer properties which are in a fairly good condition. The average cost of a HomeBuyer Report starts from £400. You can save money on the cost of a HomeBuyer Report by looking around and comparing quotes from different local surveyors. 

Why do I need a HomeBuyer Report?

A HomeBuyer Report may seem like another expense, but the benefits are that:

  • It will give you peace of mind, either that there are no visible problems or, if there are, that you're aware of them from the start

  • It can allow for the reopening of negotiations with the seller on the price

  • You could agree with the seller that they complete any repairs before you move in

  • You may wish to rethink your purchase of that property

  • You can budget for any repairs that need to be carried out

Other types of survey

There are a few different kinds of survey and they all serve different kinds of properties, so it’s best to choose the right survey for the job rather than just the cheapest option. Choosing the right survey now can mean saving thousands in repairs later on. 

RICS Condition Report (Level 1)

This is the simplest homebuyer survey and covers the basic condition of the property as well as any potential legal problems and major defects. There’s no advice or valuation provided in this survey so it’s only really used for modern homes that are in a good condition.

Building Survey  (Level 3)

This is the most indepth survey and provides you with a detailed analysis of the property’s issues and condition as well as advice on defects and repairs. It's the best choice for older properties that require more detailed attention in the report.

We have a full guide on Building Surveys which outlines everything that is included. 

Scottish Home Report

This would only be appropriate if you were selling a property in Scotland, as it's a legal requirement to have a survey before you sell your property. If you need a Scottish Home Report we can help you compare prices from local surveyors.

Where can you find a surveyor?

Use our quick comparison tool to find a local surveyor for your HomeBuyer Report. You can compare quotes, look at reviews and find someone available at the time you need them.

All of our surveyors are accredited by RICS - the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors - so you can be certain of their knowledge, up to date training and redress system.

Updated March 2020

Comments (7)

  • Sheila Bonnick

    posted on 5 Dec 2013

    This service looks good.

    Mark Emmingham

    posted on 20 Jan 2014

    Very very useful

    Peter Collett

    posted on 11 Oct 2014

    I'd be very careful about a Homebuyers Report. Mine failed to notice there was no hot water provision in the house I was buying, owing to an unworking back boiler (despite the report stating hot water was supplied by a back boiler; a quick look would have shown the thing was not working and had not been working for some time), and that a chimney needs demolishing urgently as it is leaking water into the broken back boiler. With this in mind, the valuation was significantly overestimated (local estate agents advise by about £10-15,000). I for one would never use one of these again, except for a very modern property.

    Frederick & Sheila Wood.

    posted on 6 Dec 2014

    Report very understandable.

    Mark Hatton

    posted on 20 Feb 2015

    We have now had two homebuyers' reports and neither has been useful. Sounds good in principle, until you realise that a scale of 1-3 is not adequate, and that surveyors rate most things a 3 and tell you that you should get someone to do a separate inspection of the problem. For example, our first one was for a flat with a communal area. They rated the communal area a 3 as they claimed it needed re-decorating. On our most recent, the sealant around the bath was rated a 3 (along with the very dodgy electrics!). THese things make it very difficult to judge what is actually an "urgent" problem. I suggest you get the cheapest option and then pay a decent builder for an hour to come and walk round the house with you!


    posted on 17 Nov 2018

    Thanks For Sharing, This is very Useful for everyone.


    posted on 9 Feb 2019

    These reports are very well designed and set out. Surveyors have to rate items as a 3 such as electrics if no test certificate is forth coming.

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