Homebuyers Survey or Building Survey?

A HomeBuyer 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 HomeBuyer Report is carried out on homes that are in a reasonable condition and only checks for easily visible problems.

Previously known as a Structural Survey, a Building Survey (otherwise known as the Level 3 RICS Survey) is an in-depth inspection of a property. It is the most comprehensive of the surveys available for residential properties and will provide a detailed evaluation of a property’s condition. 

The Building Survey report will describe the condition of each element of the house and identify the property’s defects, their apparent cause, the urgency of repair, maintenance options and may also include an approximate costs of repair.

Building Surveys are suitable for all properties, but they are particularly appropriate for:

  • Listed Buildings – a building that is on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
  • Older Properties – recommended for properties over 50 years old
  • Buildings constructed in an unusual way, regardless of age
  • Buildings that you intend to renovate or change
  • Buildings that have already been renovated or significantly altered

What happens if the survey finds a problem?

Most surveys will find some sort of issue, especially with older properties. If you have any concerns you are able to highlight these with the surveyor before they carry out the inspection. Most surveyors are usually happy to talk through the report over the phone with you once you have received the report.

Some of the most common things that may need investigating are: 

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

If any of these issues need further action, you may: 

  • 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 via Mint Homes or request that the Vendor fix the issues before you complete on the sale

Building Surveys are conducted by Building Surveyors. It’s important to check that the surveyor you select is regulated by RICS, as they set the guidance for surveyors and this will ensure that the advice you are getting is independent, expert advice from appropriately trained professionals. 

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