Choose the Right Survey Home Survey for your property

Choosing the right survey for your property can be confusing.  In this article we layout, why you need a survey, details of the Home Surveys and the differences between them.  At the end of the post, we include a handy table showing the differences.

Why do you need an RICS Home Survey?

Because forewarned is forearmed. Choosing the proper survey will help highlight any serious problems and advise you of the specific risks before you commit to the process of buying or selling a property. Shape Surveys offer two types of surveys, the Level 2 Home Survey and the Level 3 Home survey. An RICS qualified surveyor can only conduct these. The reports are reliable and cost-effective, especially before buying a home.

Buying a home

It’s important to remember that your mortgage lender’s valuation report is NOT a survey. It only tells your lender whether or not the property is reasonable security for your loan. An RICS survey will tell you the actual condition of the property. Whether you choose a Level 2 or Level three Home Survey, the information provided in the report is invaluable during price negotiations. Home Surveys will also help you avoid expensive surprises after you’ve moved in. We also offer the RICS Home Survey – Level 2 (with valuation), which includes a valuation as a standard part of the service for your purposes.

Selling Your Home

An RICS survey can be helpful when selling your home. It will show you any problems that may delay your sale or cause price reductions later in the process.

Not Planning On Moving?

A Home Survey of the current condition of your home will warn you of defects and help you avoid escalating repair and maintenance costs in the future.

Buying or selling? Your survey options

The Home Survey – Level 2 and the RICS Home Survey – Level 3 shows clear ‘traffic light’ ratings of the condition of different parts of the building, services, and the grounds, showing problems that may require varying degrees of attention.

  • a summary of risks to the building, people and grounds and.
  • an assessment of the relative importance of the defects and problems.

No tests of the building fabric or services are undertaken. The RICS Home Survey – Level 1 does not include advice on repairs or ongoing maintenance. It does not have a valuation.

The RICS Home Survey – Level 2 (survey only)

Choose this report if you need more extensive information whilst buying or selling a conventional house, flat or bungalow, built from common building materials and in reasonable condition.

The focus is on assessing the general condition of the main elements of a property. This intermediate level of service includes a more extensive visual inspection of the building, its services and grounds, but still without tests. In addition, concealed areas typically opened or used by the occupiers are inspected if it is safe to do so (typical examples include roof spaces, basements and cellars).

The report objectively describes the condition of the different elements. Furthermore, it provides an assessment of the relative importance of the defects/problems.

The RICS Home Survey – Level 2 (survey and valuation)

As the RICS Home Survey – Level 2 above but includes:

  • the surveyor’s professional opinion on the ‘market value’ of the property
  • an insurance reinstatement figure for the property
  • information on problems that the surveyor considers may affect the value of the property.

The RICS Home Survey – Level 3

Choose this report if dealing with a large, older or run-down property, a building that is unusual or altered, or if you’re planning major works. It costs more than the other RICS reports because it gives detailed information about the structure and fabric of the property. This service includes:

  • a detailed visual inspection of the building, its services and the grounds and is more extensive than a survey level two.
  • Concealed areas typically opened or used by the occupiers are inspected if it is safe to do so (examples include roof spaces, basements and cellars)
  • Services are observed in normal operation. Heating appliances are switched on or off and operated where the occupier provides permission, and it is safe to do so.
  • The report objectively describes the form of construction and materials used for different parts of the property. It describes the condition and provides an assessment of the relative importance of the defects/problems.

Additionally, the report includes:

  • a description of the identifiable risk of potential or hidden defects in areas not inspected
  • propose the most probable cause(s) of the defects based on the inspection
  • outline the likely scope of any appropriate remedial work and explain the likely consequences of non-repair; and
  • make general recommendations in respect of the priority and likely timescale for necessary work.

    We provide estimated costs for identified repairs within all our Level 3 Home Surveys (Building Survey).

Still not sure what survey to choose?  Call us on 0121 769 2175 or contact us directly.

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About the Author: Natasha Williams
I started the Shape Surveyors in 2011 after changing careers. As an ordinary house purchaser, I mistakenly believed that the Valuation was a survey and went ahead and purchased my first property. This old Victorian house was presented in excellent condition, totally refurbished. I fell in love with the place, ready to make it my home. However, three months later, dampness, movement and rot were uncovered. Several builders inspected the property, and the recommendation was to strip the house back and start again. It needed a rewire, damp proof course, treatment for dry rot and timber infestation. The news was devastating. The minimum quote was £27,000. I had just put all of my savings into this purchase and did not have enough money to renovate the property. I started researching. In those days, I did not know anyone who had a survey, let alone a surveyor. The Homebuyer Report would have highlighted all of these defects and allowed me to negotiate the price. So I decided to go back to university to become an RICS Surveyor. I did not want this to happen to me or anyone else again. So, after years of training and experience in housebuilding, project management, and residential surveying, I decided to provide a comprehensive service to homebuyers. I’m on a mission to keep you informed throughout the home buying process, from viewing the property to closing that critical sale, whether you’re a first-time purchaser, upsizer, downsizer or investor. Unfortunately, property defects are often hidden.

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