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What is a HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2)?

When buying a property, there are different surveys you'll need to consider to make an informed decision. A HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2) is the most popular choice, but what exactly is it?

What is a HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2)?

This guide covers everything you'll need to know about a HomeBuyer report (Level 2), including:

  1. What is a HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2 Survey)?
  2. What is included in a HomeBuyers Survey?
  3. What happens if your survey finds an issue?
  4. The cost of a HomeBuyers Survey
  5. Why do I need a survey?
  6. Other types of HomeBuyers surveys
  7. Where to find a surveyor


What is a HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2)?

A HomeBuyers Survey finds and documents any problems in a property that could cause damage and need future repairs. Reports might find things such as damp or subsidence. It's otherwise known as the Level 2 RICS Survey. The survey is carried out on homes that are in a reasonable condition and it only checks for visible problems.

The HomeBuyer Report will not detail every single aspect of the building, as it's only a visual inspection. But it can reveal issues that might impact the value of the property and need further investigation. It includes all major sections of a property that are visible to the surveyor. So, surveyors will not lift up floors or carpets, and wiring will not be included.

For properties needing renovation or alterations, it's a good idea to choose the detailed Building Survey (Level 3) instead.

What is included in a HomeBuyers Survey?

The HomeBuyers Survey 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 the property value

The HomeBuyers Survey is easily understood - written in plain English rather than technical jargon.

Condition Ratings

The RICS HomeBuyers Survey has 3 condition ratings to evaluate and describe the condition of the property. This will help you understand 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, depending on the type of property. Issues are usually identified with older properties.

If you have any concerns you can highlight these with the property 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 major problems 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 HomeBuyers Survey

A HomeBuyers Report is needed for modern, conventional properties which are in a fairly good condition. The average cost is around £300-£850.

To save money on the cost of a HomeBuyers Survey, its important to look around and compare quotes from different local building surveyors. 

Why do I need a HomeBuyers Survey?

A HomeBuyers Survey 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

A HomeBuyers Survey may not be the kind of survey you need to get. There are a few different kinds of survey and they all serve different kinds of properties. So, you'll have to choose the right survey for your property. You wont be able to choose the wrong survey to try and save on price.

RICS Condition Report (Level 1)

This is the simplest homebuyer survey and outlines the basic condition of the property. It also covers any potential legal problems and major defects.

There is no advice or valuation provided in this survey. It’s only really used for modern homes that are in a good condition and costs around £300-£900.

Building Survey (Level 3)

This is the most in-depth, full structural survey and provides you with a detailed report of the property’s condition. You'll also receive advice on defects and repair work. It's used for older properties that require more detailed attention in the report and costs around £600-£1500.

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

Scottish Home Report

This is what you need if you are selling a property in Scotland. This is because 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 HomeBuyers Survey. 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 expert advice, up to date training, and redress system.

Updated January 2023 by Lisa Hall

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