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Difference between a RICS Homebuyer Report and Full Building Survey?

Sep 4, 2022


In today’s Property Surveying blogpost, we are going to be looking at pre-purchase surveys and the key distinction and differences between an RICS Homebuyer Report and a full Building Survey.

If a property purchaser is in the process of buying a property, one of the key parts of the purchase process is to instruct an RICS surveyor to undertake a pre-purchase survey.

Generally speaking, there are two different types of pre-purchase surveys which offer the purchaser sufficient information, so that they can make a fully-informed decision on the purchase.

These are, in our experience at Stokemont, both an RICS Homebuyer Report and a full Building Survey.

One of the most typical questions we find ourselves asked here at Stokemont is what is the difference between the two surveys, and when is one more appropriate and applicable than the other?

RICS Homebuyer Report

To start with, an RICS Homebuyer Report is known as a Level Two survey on a scale of 1-3.  This effectively means that while it is not the most thorough survey that a purchaser can have undertaken, it is still indeed considered to be a very comprehensive report that would fully advise the purchaser on the defects that are within.

The RICS Homebuyer Report will follow a standardised pro forma and format, and generally speaking is going to be near enough the same throughout the profession, in terms of its approach, content and structure.

The report itself is going to carefully go through the property both externally and internally, with the inspecting surveyor carefully assessing all of the issues that are located.

When a problem is found, the surveyor will also condition rate the defect on a traffic light system and scale ranging from green to red.

In this case, green will be referred to as condition rating 1, amber or orange will be referred to as condition rating 2, and red will be referred to as condition rating 3.

The more serious the defect located, the more serious the condition rating that is applied.

Once the surveyor has gone through all of the internal and external parts of the property, they will then provide an overall opinion and assessment to the purchaser, as to whether the proposition for sale is indeed a sound one.

At this stage, they are also going to put forward any recommendations which could best assist the purchaser in understanding the report, property and advice in respect of onward steps.

We have an example of our Homebuyer Reports on our website, and we would very much advise that these are reviewed and checked by any pre-purchaser who indeed intends to consider instructing a surveyor to undertake one.

Full Building Survey

The next type of report we are going to look at is a full Building Survey.  A full Building Survey is deemed most comprehensive and thorough pre-purchase survey that a property purchaser can instruct an RICS surveyor to undertake.

Much like an RICS Homebuyer Report, the surveyor is going to go through the process in a step-by-step basis, setting out all of the defects that lie within.

The same condition rating system will apply, and the same approach to inspection will apply.

However, unlike an RICS Homebuyer Report, a full Building Survey is going to be significantly more detailed and comprehensive in its explanation of the issue, while also going into a lot more detail on how the surveyor believes the problem can be overcome, and ultimately rectified.

It is also going to include surveyor estimates and costings in respect of the making good, repair, or replacement of any issues that are found and located during the survey.

Cost Ratings

Here at Stokemont, we are also very proud to include our cost rating system that is unique and bespoke to our pre-purchase surveys within both RICS Homebuyer Reports and full Building Surveys.

Our cost rating system will not only give our clients a full idea of what type of costs they are likely to incur through the course of having to remedy, rectify, make good or replace any defective items.  It will also enable them to open up informative discussion with the seller to aid smooth resolution, and hopefully reduce the sales price.

Pre-purchase surveys, in our opinion, are one of the key surveying services that chartered surveyors and RICS surveyors offer.  Not only do they definitively inform clients on whether the purchase they are making is sound or not, but they also can go a significant way to avoiding serious property defects and issues that a purchaser could be unknowingly, unwillingly buying into.

If you would like to discuss your pre-purchase surveying requirements with our team of experienced and qualified RICS surveyors, please feel free to give us a call today or pop us an email, and we will be more than happy to assist and advise you.

Did you know, that we also undertake pre-purchase surveys for a number of surveying companies within the profession?

Our subsidiary company Home Survey Direct offers its services to numerous different property service providers throughout England and Wales, and assists them with their pre-purchase survey requirements.

This not only means that our surveyors are out-and-about on site, often multiple times each and every day, it also means that our surveyors have the benefit and understanding of significant property inspection experience, ranging from all different types of properties including bungalows, flats, houses and commercial properties.

Our take on this here at Stokemont, is this experience sets us apart from the rest, while also giving you the piece of mind that if our own colleagues within the profession are willing to trust us with their pre-purchase survey requirements, so should you.

If you would like to discuss any matter of our services, please feel free to get in touch and we will be more than happy to advise you.

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