Which Survey Do I need?

Having a survey carried out by an appropriately qualified person, such as a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), should be at the top of the moving home check list of any sensible person.  There are many reasons this is the case, here are a few:


You don’t know what alterations and/or changes the current occupier/Vendor has made, are they safe?A good survey report is a fantastic negotiation tool, in particular bearing in mind that the report is provided by an Independent Expert who is not involved in the sale process.


This is particularly so if the Chartered Surveyor you choose does not have a working relationship with the Estate Agent or others involved in the sale.Independent research shows that 1 in 4 people who don’t have a survey find they have repairs costing an average of £2,500, for 1 in 10 it is over £10,000. The type of surveys we undertake could also help you achieve an asking price reduction on average of £2,000 (Source: Building Research Establishment, Aug 2010).


The RICS have 3 report types to choose from, i.e. RICS Building Survey, RICS Homebuyer and RICS Home Condition Report. Each report was designed with particular use in mind. Below is a quick summary:


  • Building Survey - Suitable for any type of property, age or condition.

  • Homebuyer Report - Suitable for properties built from around 1840, possibly earlier, traditional construction and seemingly in a reasonable condition.

  • Condition Report - Really designed to inform those selling their home to provide them, and indeed their proposed purchasers, with a report on the general condition of the property.

Answer these questions to help you decide on which survey to have:


Is the property older than 1840 say?  

If the answer is yes, then it’s likely we’d recommend an RICS Level 3 Building Survey


Is the property non-traditional construction?

If the answer is yes to this and question 1 above, then it’s likely we’d recommend an RICS Level 3 Building Survey, if not then RICS Level 2 Homebuyer Report would be our usual recommendation.


Is the property in a seemingly reasonable condition, excluding wear and tear for instance or outdated items say.

If the answer to this question is yes, then the RICS Level 2 Homebuyer Report would be our usual recommendation.  If there’s specific defects though, such as serious structural movement or your mortgage lender has recommended specific investigations such as wall tie failure, dampness, etc… then you may need a specific defect report or include such commentary in an RICS Level 3 Building Survey.


That said, an RICS Level 2 Homebuyer Report can still be applicable and will likely provide commentary on whether our surveyor considers the defect to be serious or not, just won’t go into detail about repair works/costs of works.

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