Trevor J Francis

Chartered Building Surveyor in London

Phone Number: 020 7112 4891

Mobile Number: 07974 114 702

Office Number: 020 7112 4891

Building Surveys

If you are planning to buy a new home, you should consider getting a survey done to give you a clearer picture of the home you intend to buy. A homebuyer survey helps you avoid unexpected repair costs in the near future by giving you detailed information about how much you may have to invest in your property after buying it. 

The most common two choices are RICS Condition Reports and RICS Homebuyer Report, but other types of surveys also exist. Of all the people who request a survey, the majority opt for a homebuyer report. 

However, it is worth pointing out that a worrying statistic of about 7 million homeowners did not request a survey before buying a property. The homebuyer report is a middle ground between the most basic Condition Report and the full Building Survey, also formally known as the Structural Survey.

young homeowners with building survey report

What is a Homebuyer Report?

A homebuyer report is basically a health-check report that tells you more about the condition of your new home. The report is recommended for most new homes and conventional older homes that are in a good state of repair. The purpose of the report is basically to give you an independent view of the property’s condition and highlight any defects of the building.

What Does a Homebuyer Report Cover?

interior view of a conservatory extension

The report gives you a more detailed inspection and more extensive information on the condition of your property than you can get from a basic condition report. The report will also highlight the major problems that can affect the value of your property such as rot, subsidence and damp. 

However, it is important noting that the surveyor will only look at things that are immediately visible. The surveyor will not lift the carpets or check behind the furniture and may not even inspect the roof space that requires climbing a ladder. Nevertheless, most homebuyer reports give a valuation of the house. If you find the valuation is lower than the mortgage lender’s own valuation, you should consider revising you offer. The survey will also include insurance ‘reinstatement value’, which is the compensation amount you would receive in case the building is destroyed. 

A good report is concise and uses a clear traffic-light coding system to highlight defects in your new home. The report also provides: 

  • A list of problems that need your attention
  • Advice on repairs and maintenance
  • Legal considerations

What is the Difference Between a Building Survey and Homebuyers Report?

A homebuyer report is generally better for properties that…

  • were built within the last 100 years
  • are built from common building materials
  • are of more conventional design
  • are in a reasonable condition, as far as you can tell

A building survey is generally better for properties that…

  • are much older and built more than 100 years ago
  • are of non-traditional construction
  • have undergone major extension or alteration
  • you plan to alter in the future

When buying an old building, it is beneficial to request a full Building Survey, which offers a more comprehensive report instead of a Homebuyer Report. In some occasions, your finance provider or building society can commission a valuation report as a requirement. In such situations, it is worth noting that the valuation report is more useful to the lender than to the purchaser as it does not contain the detail that you require and hence, you should consider requesting a more detailed survey report.