For homebuyers in North London (Islington, Newington Green and surrounding areas), it’s important to consider the condition of the property before making an offer. Buying your home could be the most significant purchase you ever make, so it is well worth commissioning a survey to ensure it is of a good condition and give you peace of mind that there aren’t any significant problems with the property.

A Homebuyers Report is the most popular type of survey available. It is not as in-depth as a Buildings Survey but is more comprehensive than a Condition Report. Here we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Homebuyers Reports.

What is a Homebuyers Survey?

A Homebuyers Report is designed to give an overall opinion on the condition of a property. It can be offered with or without a valuation and will help you identify any major problems such as subsistence, damp or if the roof needs replacing.

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The surveyor will inspect all visible aspects of the property, but they will not lift floorboards or look behind furniture therefore, they will only be able to identify surface-level issues.

What type of property is the Homebuyers Survey for?

A Homebuyers Report is best for properties that are:

  • built within the last 100 years
  • built using conventional materials
  • in reasonable condition

If the property you are considering buying is significantly older than this or has undergone extensive alteration or extension, you may want to consider a Building Survey.

What’s covered in a RICS Homebuyers Report?

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is an international surveyors association, that regulates and trains chartered property surveyors. They provide standard templates for home survey reports which buyers, sellers and property professionals respect. Only licensed surveyors can administer their reports.

A RICS Homebuyers Report, otherwise known as a Level 2 report, covers the following areas of a property:

Outside the property (inspected from ground level)

  • Chimney stacks and roof coverings
  • Main walls
  • Pipes and gutters
  • Windows and doors
  • Garages, conservatories and porches

Inside the property

  • Ceilings and walls (including the roof structure if it is accessible)
  • Floors
  • Built in fittings including kitchens and bathrooms
  • Woodwork
  • Fireplaces, chimneys and flues
  • Services
  • Electricity
  • Gas/oil
  • Water heating
  • Drainage

The report also includes an estimated cost of rebuilding the property for insurance purposes and a current valuation of the property.

A RICS report is not the only option. There are two other accrediting bodies for surveyors, SAVA – Surveyors and Valuers Accreditation (UK accreditation scheme for surveyors & valuers of residential property) and RPSA (Residential Property Surveyors Association), who each offer different surveys administered by residential property surveyors, similar to RICS. Also, some surveyors offer their own equivalent of the RICS Home Survey Level 2, which may include more information.

What to do if your survey uncovers problems?

Be prepared, it’s inevitable that your survey of the residential property will highlight some issues. If you have concerns about the condition of the property, then make sure you mention these to your surveyor before they carry out the inspection.

Homebuyer report checks

The most common things to assess for good condition:

  • Electrics
  • Roofing
  • Central heating
  • Damp
  • Structural problems

If these or any other issues occur, discuss them in detail with your surveyor and check how much it might cost to fix. Obtain a quote from a builder or engineer for fixing the issue. Then use these estimates to renegotiate the sale price or request the issue to be fixed prior to completing the sale.

How much does a Homebuyers Survey cost?

The cost of your survey will depend on the location, type and size of the property. Surveyors are free to set their prices, so be sure to get a few different quotes.

The average cost of a Homebuyers Survey is £500 but could be as much as £1,000 for larger properties.

How Long Does A Homebuyers Survey Take?

A Homebuyers inspection takes between 2 to 4 hours to complete. Typically, you will receive your report within 3-5 working days.

What does a Homebuyers Report look like?

A RICS Homebuyers Report follows a standard format and uses a traffic light system so you can see the properties condition and any areas of concern. Each aspect of the property that is inspected will receive one of the following condition ratings.

  • Green – No repair is currently needed.
  • Amber – Defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be serious or urgent.
  • Red – Defects that are serious and/or urgent and need attention urgently
  • NI – Not inspected, for instance if access was not possible e.g. cupboards or roof space blocked.

The report is written in a way that is easy to understand and without difficult jargon.

Click here to see an example of the RICS Level 2 HomeBuyer Report.

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Pros and cons: Homebuyers, Building Survey & Condition Report

There are three basic types of house survey:

  • Condition Report
  • Homebuyers Report
  • Building Survey

This article has focused on the Homebuyers Report, which is the most popular type of survey. However, the other two options have their pros and cons.

Condition Report

Pros

  • The cheapest option
  • Ideal for new build or nearly new home
  • Identifies any major defects

Cons

  • Is the most basic survey at level one, with no details
  • No advice is provided for repairs and maintenance

Homebuyers Report

Pros

  • The most popular and affordable survey
  • Contains reasonable details
  • Best for standard properties in reasonable condition

Cons

  • This survey inspection only assesses the visible and easily accessible areas
  • No photographs or estimated cost of repairs are included

Buildings Survey

Pros

  • The most detailed report at level three
  • Ideal for older homes, those that have been renovated or built in an unconventional way
  • Includes details (photographs, costing and timelines) for repairs

Cons

  • The most expensive report
  • It can take one day for the survey assessment

Other types of surveys

RICS Building Survey

This survey is typically for larger or older properties, or if you are planning on renovating your new home. A RICS Building Survey is similar to the Building Survey but with a more comprehensive breakdown of the condition and structure of the property. The report outlines any issues, using a clear and simple rating system. It also provides advise on the defect, repair and maintenance options. The RICS Building Survey cost typically starts at £400.

New Build Snagging Survey

Since a new build is brand new and under new home warranty, it shouldn’t have any major issues. A snagging list is an independent inspection of a new build property, to identify any issues with your new home. Depending on the size of the property, the cost starts at £300. Any defects should be highlighted to the developer prior to moving in.

Mortgage Valuation Survey

New home buyers applying for a mortgage will require a mortgage valuation. This ensures that the property is worth the price that a buyer is paying, or borrowing for the property sale. This is a valuation and it will not identify any issues or problems with the property. The cost of the mortgage lender’s survey begins at £250, dependent on the value and size of the residential property.

Is a Homebuyers Survey worth it?

We would always recommend getting a Homebuyers Survey or Building Survey on a property you are buying. By having a survey, you will be aware of any issues and potential costs before committing to the purchase. You can use any defects or down valuations to renegotiate the price, or if the repair work required is too expensive, you can pull out of the sale. If you decide to proceed with the purchase, you will be able to budget for any repair work.

Research from RICS surveyed over 1,000 buyers and found that 1 in 5 buyers who didn’t have a survey later found problems with the property. Those who didn’t have a survey had to spend £5,750 on average for repair work they were not aware of.

When you are buying a house, there is so much to think about, and the process can be stressful. You might feel that having to find a surveyor is a complication and expense you could do without. But a survey provides greater peace of mind and could save you a lot of time, money and heartache.

 

Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, M&M Property provides a tailored, efficient and professional service, and we are proud of our outstanding reputation. To find out more, contact us today.