This guide covers everything you'll need to know about a HomeBuyer report, including:
- What is a HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2 Survey)?
- What is included in a HomeBuyers Survey?
- What happens if your survey finds an issue?
- The cost of a HomeBuyers Survey
- Why do I need a survey?
- Other types of HomeBuyers surveys
- Where to find a surveyor
What is a HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2)?
A HomeBuyers Survey/Report (otherwise known as the Level 2 RICS 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 HomeBuyers Survey 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 Homebuyers Survey.
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 its value
The HomeBuyers Survey is easily understood - written in plain English rather than technical jargon.
The RICS HomeBuyers Survey 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:
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:
- Issues with the roofing
- Central heating
- 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 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 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. It costs around £300-£900.
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 used for older properties that require more detailed attention in the report. It 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, 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 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 knowledge, up to date training and redress system.
Updated January 2023 by Jeremy Greer