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    Understanding HomeBuyers Survey Level 2

    By The reallymoving Team Updated 24th May, 2024

    Reviewed by Em Smith

    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?

    Understanding 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)?

    Otherwise known as the Level 2 RICS Survey, A HomeBuyers Survey finds and documents any problems in a property that could cause damage and identifies areas that may need future repairs. Reports might find issues such as damp or subsidence. The survey is carried out on homes that are in a reasonable condition and only check for visible problems.

    The HomeBuyer Report will not detail every single aspect of the building, as it's only a visual inspection. The survey 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. The HomeBuyer report is non-invasive, 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.

    Understanding the traffic light system

    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:

    • Green - Condition Rating 1 – no repair currently needed
    • Yellow - Condition Rating 2 – defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be serious or urgent
    • Red - Condition Rating 3 – defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently

    These ratings help you to prioritise and understand the severity of each issue.

    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. Therefore, 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.  

    How much does a HomeBuyers Survey cost?

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

    To save money on the cost of a HomeBuyers Survey, it’s 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 and will be faced with no unexpected costs
    • 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 types of survey and they all offer different properties. You will have to choose the right survey for your property. If you choose the wrong survey to try and save on price, it could result in added costs later if something has been overlooked.

    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.
    No advice or valuation is provided in this survey. These reports are only really used for modern homes that are in a good condition and they cost 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.

    HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2) FAQs

    Is a HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2) worth it?

    A HomeBuyers Survey can help detect issues so you can avoid unexpected expenses after you have purchased a property. The survey can highlight any visible problems that can be used to renegotiate on the price with the seller, saving you money.

    Does the survey fee include VAT?

    Make sure that you check if your quoted fee includes VAT, as this can vary between surveyors.

    Can a HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2) replace a mortgage valuation? 

    Mortgage valuations and property surveys are very different. A property survey can identity any issues, or future issues, in a property before you purchase it. A mortgage valuation is carried out for the benefit of the lender. It is a quick assessment that the property is worth the money you’ve agreed to pay for it.

    How long does a HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2) take?

    The survey itself will usually take between 90 minutes and four hours. The wait for the results of the survey is usually 3-5 working days.

    What happens if the survey uncovers significant issues?

    If the survey uncovers significant issues, there are different options you might consider. You might choose to negotiate on the price with the seller or you could request that the seller makes the repairs before finalising the purchase. If the issues are significant enough you may choose to not go through with the purchase.

    What should I do after receiving my survey report?

    After receiving your survey report, most surveyors will be happy to discuss the findings of the survey and answer any questions you may have. If you are happy with the findings of the survey you can choose to go ahead with the sale. If the outcome is negative, you may use the report for negotiations on the price of the property.

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