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RICS HomeBuyer Report Vs Full Building Survey

Jan 17, 2022

In today’s Property Surveying blog post topic we are going to be discussing building surveying and in particular pre-purchase surveys. 

If you are purchasing a property and would like to have a full understanding of the condition and defects of that property in advance of proceeding with the purchase you will need to undertake a pre-purchase survey. 

A pre-purchase survey will be prepared by an RICS chartered surveyor and will ensure that all facets and areas of the property are thoroughly inspected in advance of the property purchase so that you are fully aware of exactly what defects and issues lurk within and the maintenance liabilities that you are purchasing into. 

Within the market there are two different types of pre-purchase surveys that offer consumers the level of detail and protection that they require in order to make a fully informed purchase decision.

These are both an RICS Home Buyer Report and a Full Building Survey.

We are now going to be looking at both of these in a little more detail so that you are fully aware of all aspects of them and so that you can best consider which one would apply to your property purchase.

RICS Home Buyer Report

An RICS Homebuyer Report is a standardised RICS designed report that generally speaking will be somewhat the same in format across all different surveying companies that offer them.

The report itself is set out in a consumer friendly way and will go through the various different elements of a property from the external parts to the internal parts to the services. 

As the surveyor notes defects within the property they will categorise these in a condition rating system. 

The condition rating system follows the same colours of a traffic light classifying defects from red, amber to green. 

These defects are set out as below. 

Condition Rating 1: Green

This means that there is no repair currently needed – It’s the best outcome!

Condition Rating 2: Amber

This means that the item being inspected has a defect that requires repairing or replacing.  However, it is worth noting that the defect is not considered to be serious or urgent. – This is a medium rating confirming that the item may need attention at some point in the near future.

Condition Rating 3: Red

This means there are defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently – This is the worst rating possible and will mean urgent attention and likely cost is required.

An RICS Homebuyer Report is considered to be a level 2 survey and in our opinion here at Stokemont is an incredibly robust and thorough survey and in almost all cases would thoroughly advise and inform the purchaser of exactly what defects work within and given full understanding of those pre-purchase. 

Homebuyer Reports can take anywhere from 2-5 hours of a surveyor’s time on site inspecting and pretty much the all windows doors opened, kitchens, bathrooms fully inspected, drain/manhole covers lifted, lights tested, kitchens commented upon, gardens fully inspected, roofs fully inspected, walls fully inspected and damp meter tests taken throughout the property and to its perimeter, usually at the various different prospective floor levels.

Full Building Survey

The next survey that consumers can opt to proceed with at the purchase stage is a full Building Survey.

A full Building Survey is considered to be a level 3 survey and in a nutshell, there is no survey that is more thorough than this which effectively ensures that the consumer has a full understanding in advance of proceeding with the purchase. 

The Building Survey and the Homebuyer Report follow the same format, the only difference being that a Building Survey would generally speaking go into a little more detail on the necessary repair, and ultimately the costs associated with that repair. 

In almost all cases here at Stokemont we believe Building Surveys should be reserved for houses, and in particular houses that are in a particular state of disrepair or have noticeable defects throughout.

Other than that, we believe RICS Homebuyer Reports are more than sufficient and in many cases the added cost of a Building Survey can often not represent value for money as the detail to which they go into can often be unnecessary for your average property purchase. 

Here at Stokemont, we undertake hundreds of RICS and Homebuyer Reports every year and pride ourselves in our no stone left unturned thorough approach.

We also deviate away from the RICS generated template report creators and have our own in-house report which not only follows the RICS requirements but also ensures that each and every defect and issue we locate is fully set out with a surveyor’s photograph fully confirming the defect and its location.

If you would like to get in touch with us and enquire about your pre-purchase survey requirements, give us a call today and our team of experienced RICS surveyors will be more than happy to assist you. 

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