• Anthony Coyle-Dowling

The Homebuyer Survey

When you’re buying a house, the list of checks, surveys and other legal bumpf that you’re told you need to action (and pay for!) seems never-ending. One of those items is the Homebuyer Survey. The question is, do you need it?


Whatever you’re buying, whether it’s a new toaster, a motorbike or a home, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not getting a bum deal. You wouldn’t buy the motorbike without checking it over first, and as a property purchase is likely to be one of the biggest investments of your life, it’s worth getting a professional in to ensure that your money is going to be well-spent. It can also increase your negotiating power.


What exactly is a Homebuyer Survey?

The Homebuyer Survey is a detailed report of the condition of the property, carried out by an expert. There are several levels of surveys, but in a nutshell, they will highlight any problems with the structure of the property and any major issues or necessary repairs.


Who does the Homebuyer Survey?

There are two organisations who carry out Homebuyer Surveys. The first is The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and the other is the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA). Ensure that the surveyor you choose is reputable and local. There are also specialist surveyors for unique property types, such as listed or historical buildings.


Search for a surveyor at https://www.ricsfirms.com


Do I have to get a Homebuyer Survey?

Legally, you’re not required to get a Homebuyer Survey, but as you can’t hand the property back if you discover issues after you’ve bought it, it’s highly recommended that you do. The survey is also useful to ensure that the property is worth the price you’re paying.


Should every property be surveyed?

Any house can have potential structural issues, so it is the sensible option to get a Homebuyer Survey regardless of the property type to ensure you are making a good investment. However, it is essential to get surveys conducted on properties that are listed, old, unusual, or if they have any visible issues.


What are the different levels of survey?

There are roughly five different types of survey, including one for new builds. Although they’re not cheap, especially if you end up not buying the property, they can save you thousands in repairs.


Level One – Condition Report (£300)

This is a basic report; it has little detail and does not include a valuation, recommendations or advice. It simply documents the home as a colour scheme:

Green = good

Yellow = minor improvements required

Red = essential repairs needed


Level Two – Homebuyer’s Report (£350-£450)

This survey offers more detail than the Condition Report, and due to an affordable price, it is the most popular Homebuyer’s Survey. You can choose just the survey, or a survey and valuation. A valuation can be shared with your mortgage lender, and can be a good negotiating tool when it comes to property price.


Home Condition Survey (£400-£900)

Home Condition Surveys are offered by the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA), but not by The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This is a full inspection and you will receive a comprehensive report. The survey will include detail such as structural status, damp assessment, any boundary issues, broadband speed, and living conditions. The size of the property will influence the cost of the survey.


Level Three – Building Survey (£500+)

The Building Survey is a comprehensive building report. The surveyor will inspect under floors, behind walls, in attics, and wherever else is needed in order to uncover any structural damage. This survey is recommended for properties that have visible defects such as hairline fractures or damp, or if the property is old.


New Build Snagging Report (£300-£600)

You might think that a newly-built house would be perfect, but this survey is worth doing. Try to get it done before your completion date, so that the builders can fix any snags before you move in, but if that is not possible, book it as soon as possible. Technically, you can have a snagging survey done at any time during the first two years. The report will cover everything from dodgy finishes and doors hung incorrectly, to more serious structural issues.


A Homebuyer Survey highlights possible issues, so you can be completely confident in your decision to purchase. For more advice on all property-related surveys and reports, contact the team at Coyle Dowling Real Estates – the Ealing property experts – on 07369 269627.

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