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RICS Home Buyer Surveys

Dec 29, 2022


Thank you for clicking on today’s property surveying blog post.  Today we are going to be looking at Home Buyer surveys, or Pre-Purchase surveys as they are generally known within the property industry.

A Pre-Purchase survey is required when a property buyer is embarking on the purchase of a new home, or buy-to-let investment.

While the home buyer will go through all of the necessary procedures and protocols that can come with the search, narrowing down and final selection of the property, along with the necessary solicitor conveyancing checks, it is highly recommended by property professionals throughout the land that home buyers also have a pre-purchase survey undertaken by an RICS surveyor.

A pre-purchase survey will ensure that the property purchaser is fully aware of exactly what they are buying into, ultimately ensuring that the purchase is not only an informed one, but one where by they are well aware and have accounted for the current and future property defects that lurk within.

Here at Stokemont, we are building surveyors by trade, and undertake numerous pre-purchase surveys each and every week.

Our motto to pre-purchase surveys is ‘no stone left unturned’.  There are, generally speaking, two types of pre-purchase surveys that are widely available within the market.  We are now going to look at these in a little bit more detail so you are fully aware of exactly what the difference between the two are, hopefully enabling you to make a fully informed surveyor instruction and survey decision.

RICS Home Buyer Report

While an RICS Home Buyer Report is considered a Level 2 survey, on a scale of 1-3, it is by no means limited in terms of its scope, inspection and ultimately the report.

The RICS surveyor will methodically work their way through the property, assessing all defects and issues.  They will look at the property from an external perspective, along with an internal inspection.

Once they have fully assessed matters, they will then report on their findings and use a handy, and easy to understand, condition rating traffic light system to set out the defects they have noted.

Here at Stokemont, we go one step further and provide a similar cost rating traffic light system.

These traffic light systems are in place to ensure our clients and the property purchaser not only understands the issue we have located, they also fully appreciate the likely cost that can come with the necessary making good and repair.

The second type of pre-purchase survey available in the market is a Full Building Survey.

Full Building Survey

A Full Building Survey is considered to be a Level 3 survey.  Much like an RICS Home Buyer report, it will focus on both internal and external parts, using the same condition rating and cost rating system throughout the property. 

However, unlike an RICS Home Buyer Report, the Full Building Survey is going to go into significantly more detail than the RICS Home Buyer Report.

RICS Home Buyer Report vs Full Building Survey

One of the most typical questions we find ourselves asked here at Stokemont is what is the better report for the property, and ultimately for the client?

We are now going to touch on this in a little bit more detail to ensure you are fully abreast and well accommodated of our position on this.

Flats & Maisonettes

With all flats and maisonettes, we tend to advise that an RICS Home Buyer report is undertaken.  While there are many other surveyors who will aim to upsell to a Full Building Survey, an RICS Home Buyer report is more than enough when it comes to focusing on the various different issues the surveyor locates. 

Furthermore, as in many scenarios, a flat will limit the extent of the inspection that the surveyor can undertake.  In many cases, not being able to inspect parts of the building that are not demised to the subject flat. 

A Home Buyer report will ensure that the property purchaser is not paying additional cost for areas of the property that the property surveyor may not be able to view, inspect and ultimately report and comment upon.


With houses, we tend to advise and recommend upon a Full Building Survey.  Full Building Surveys, as set out above, are the most comprehensive type of pre-purchase survey that a property surveyor can undertake.

The beauty of a Full Building Survey of a house is that the surveyor will be able to access all different parts of it.  The client will therefore, be getting full value for money when it comes to the report that can come as an outcome to the inspection. 

RICS Home Buyer Reports of Houses

In some cases, an RICS Home Buyer report of a house is likely to be more than sufficient.  However, this ultimately depends on the type of house it is and the ultimate end result that the property purchaser intends to proceed with. 

If the property purchase is going to be undertaking extensive structural works, such as extensions, internal alterations/reconfigurations or a loft conversion, in many cases the defects that the surveyor will locate are naturally going to be remedied and rectified under the planned construction works.  In this case, an RICS Home buyer report will not only be comprehensive, it will fully advise the client of the necessary risks associated with the property.

It is worth noting that there are no two properties that are alike, and we would always advise that the pre-purchaser fully discuss the planned purchase with the surveyor prior to instruction. 

You are likely to not only get impartial and helpful advice on the best and most suitable survey, you will also get a good understanding as to whether that pre-purchase surveyor has a full understanding and experience of the particular property you are purchasing.

If you would like to discuss your pre-purchase survey requirements with our team of experienced and qualified RICS surveyors here at Stokemont, please feel free to get in touch with us today.  We will be more than happy to assist and advise you.

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