RICS surveyors offer two forms of survey that are specifically designed to help home buyers.
These are a Building Survey and the RICS HomeBuyer Service.
A survey will help you to make a reasoned and informed decision on whether to go ahead with buying a property.
Before you decide to commit yourself legally, you can limit the risks by asking a chartered surveyor to answer the following questions for you.
• What is a reasonable price to pay for the property?
• Are there any serious or urgent defects
or specific risks with the property?
Arranging your own survey is the simple, cost-effective way to avoid unpleasant – and perhaps expensive – surprises after moving in. In some cases, the surveyor’s report may allow you to renegotiate the price of the property.
Even if you are looking for a mortgage and, as a result, may be paying for a mortgage valuation report, we still recommend that you arrange a survey by your own surveyor. Both the Consumers’ Association ‘Which?’ magazine and the Council of Mortgage Lenders give this advice.
The reason for this is that the mortgage valuation report is prepared for your lender – not for you, the borrower. It answers only the lender’s questions about whether the property offers suitable security for your loan. You cannot rely on it to answer the questions that concern your personal interests or to give you details of the condition of the property. Also, some lenders do not provide a copy of their mortgage valuation report.
(This used to be called a structural survey.)
A building survey is a customised service suitable for all residential properties and gives full details of their construction and condition.
You are likely to need this type of survey if, for example, the property is unusually built or run-down, if the property has been significantly altered, or if you are planning a major conversion or renovation.
Building surveys are usually tailored to your needs. The report includes detailed technical information on materials and construction, as well as details of the whole range of defects.
In Scotland this type of survey is rarely needed, partly because of the speed at which house purchases normally take place but also because buyers will receive a survey of the property, known as the ‘single survey’, as part of the Home Report. Even in Scotland, however, you may choose to have your own building survey if you are planning a major renovation or conversion for the property.
The RICS HomeBuyer Service includes an inspection, a report and a valuation, and these are all explained in detail in the ‘Description of the RICS HomeBuyer Service’ the surveyor will give you. The RICS HomeBuyer report is a standard format, and is different to a building survey in three main ways.
The report also includes other valuable information.
It is an economical service. Because of the practical limits on the type of property and what the service covers, the RICS HomeBuyer Service is priced mid-range – more expensive than a mortgage valuation, but cheaper than a building survey.
The surveyor’s main purpose in providing
the service is to help you:
The report covers the inside and outside of the building, the services and the site and includes:
Any defects that the surveyor considers do not need repairing or replacing, or any minor matters that do not affect the value of the property, are generally not included in the report.
If you have a particular requirement that you would like the surveyor to consider, you should discuss this with the surveyor before they provide you with the service.
RICS HomeBuyer Service
Traditional houses, flats, bungalows and so on, in apparently reasonable condition
Any residential or other property,
in any condition
Type of service
A shorter, less detailed report in a
A detailed report that is tailored
to suit your needs
Aims of service
To help you:
To give you:
Provides condition ratings for elements of the building, services and any garages and permanent outbuildings
Provides full details of the property’s construction, materials, uses, defects,
and need for future maintenance
Included as part of the
RICS HomeBuyer Service
May be provided as an agreed extra
Form of report
RICS HomeBuyer Report which
is a compact, standard format
In the surveyor’s own format and usually longer, more detailed and technical than the RICS HomeBuyer Report
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is an international organisation with over 118,000 members and recognised as a trusted mark of excellence by governments, financial and commercial organisations throughout the United Kingdom and worldwide.
Choosing the right survey can sometimes
be a headache! Our simple guidelines
should help you make your decision.
Whether you’re buying, selling or
simply looking for a valuation on
residential or business property we
offer an efficient and impartial service.