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What is a Condition Report (Level 1 Survey)?

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Mike Ashton

16th Jul 2019 (Last updated on 25th Mar 2024) 7 minute read

A Condition Report, now known as a RICS Home Survey Level 1, is a basic property survey. It will provide potential buyers with a simple overview of a home's condition. This includes the structure of the building, any maintenance concerns and the state of repair of the home.

This is a surface-level inspection to highlight any obvious defects. It was developed by RICS to make buyers aware of major issues before committing to their purchase. Your report will address areas of concern and provide you with useful information about the home.

Below we look at when you may need a Level 1 Condition Report, how much it costs and what it includes.

  1. What Type of Property Is It Suitable For?
  2. When Do You Need a Condition Report (Level 1 Survey)?
  3. Who Completes a Condition Report?
  4. How Much Does a Condition Report Cost?
  5. How Long Does a Condition Report Take?
  6. What’s Covered in this Survey?
  7. How to Read a Condition Report (Level 1 Survey)
  8. What Other Surveys are Available?
  9. Level 1 (Condition Report) vs Level 2 Survey (Homebuyers Survey)
  10. Finding a Surveyor

What Type of Property Is It Suitable For?

The Level 1 Survey is recommended for conventional properties that are approximately less than 5 years old. The property must be in good condition with an easily accessible maintenance history. It can be used for new homes, however a Snagging Survey is the recommended survey for a newly built property.

This level of survey is not suitable for older buildings. It is also not recommended for unusually constructed homes or properties with known defects.

For a more comprehensive report of a home, you may want to instruct a surveyor to conduct a Level 2 Survey. For older or unusual properties, the Level 3 Survey may be more suitable.

To learn more read: How long does a survey take on a house.

When Do You Need a Condition Report (Level 1 Survey)?

Any property survey should be arranged once your offer has been accepted on the home. It must be completed well before the sale concludes, ensuring you have time to review the findings.

A Level 1 Condition Report is not a legal requirement when buying a home, but it can provide you with essential information about the property.

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Who Completes a Condition Report?

A RICS Level 1 survey - or Condition Report - must be completed by a RICS-registered surveyor. They will be qualified to undertake the inspection and write up the survey report.

Finding the right professional is essential, which is why it is recommended that you compare surveyors. This way you can find someone with experience in Condition Reports. You can also find someone who has experience with the type of home you want inspected.

How Much Does a Condition Report Cost?

A Condition Report costs around £380 based on the average UK house price of £277,000.

This will depend on the location, property size and its value. It will also depend on the surveying firm you opt for. This is why it is important to compare different surveyors.

Here are the average Condition Report costs depending on property value:

Property ValueAverage Cost (£)
Up to £100,000£290
£100,001 to £200,000
£200,001 to £300,000
£300,001 to 400,000
£400,001 to £500,000
£500,001 to £600,000
£600,001 to £700,000
£700,001 to £800,000
£800,001 to £900,000
£900,001 to £1,000,000

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How Long Does a Condition Report Take?

As this is a basic survey, the inspection of the home itself should only take around 2 hours. It will not be in-depth nor provide the same level of cover as the Level 2 or Level 3 surveys. Your report should be with you within 5 working days, depending on the surveying firm you use.

What’s Covered in this Survey?

As mentioned above, this is an elementary survey providing a simple overview of the home's condition.

It covers some of the common issues found in properties, plus any obvious surface-level issues. It will also advise on any legal issues that need to be addressed before the transaction is complete. The report includes information on the local environment and energy efficiency.

Like other property surveys, the report includes a ‘traffic light system’ to highlight any defects or damage. However, it does not include advice, recommendations or the cost of the expected repairs. It also doesn’t include a valuation of the property.

To learn more, read what does a surveyor look for.

How to Read a Condition Report (Level 1 Survey)

Like other RICS surveys, the Level 1 Survey uses a ‘traffic light’ system to highlight any defects found. It’s an easy-to-use system that gives potential buyers a basic explanation of what needs attention in the home. As the name suggests, it is a colour-coded system based on three colours: red, amber and green.


This refers to ‘Condition Rating 1’, indicating that the area referenced needs no repairs.


This refers to ‘Condition Rating 2’. This highlights areas that need repairing or replacing but are not considered urgent or serious. These areas are unlikely to impact the value of the home but will need some maintenance or repair in time.


This refers to ‘Condition Rating 3’ and highlights defects that are urgent or serious. These problems may warrant re-negotiation based on potential repair costs or even cause the buyer to pull out of the sale.

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What Other Surveys are Available?

Due to its limiting criteria, the Level 1 Survey is not common. It is recommended that you explore the property surveys available so you know which is most suitable for the property you are looking to buy.

Level 2 Survey

The Level 2 Survey (previously called a Homebuyers Report) is available for many property types. It is suitable for conventional homes that are in good condition and fairly modern, typically up to 50 years old. This is the most popular and most recommended survey type.

Level 3 Survey

The Level 3 Survey, formerly known as a Building Survey, is recommended for homes that are older or in poor condition. It is also suited to properties made from unusual or non-conventional materials. This is the most thorough survey available and will give a breakdown of issues found in the home.

Snagging Survey

A Snagging Survey is designed for new build homes. A professional surveyor inspects the home to ensure everything is completed to a high standard. They will highlight any defects and compile a report of any issues they find. You can then address these with the home builder.

See also: Valuations

The RICS Valuation is a basic inspection that only indicates the value of the property. This is required when applying for a mortgage. It is often needed for changes in shared equity, shared ownership and legal reasons. It will only highlight any obvious damage that could affect the value and can be used for any property type. A valuation is not a survey and should not be treated as one.

    Level 1 (Condition Report) vs Level 2 Survey (Homebuyers Survey)

    A Level 1 survey is designed for new homes in good condition. These are homes that don’t need a thorough inspection. If you are buying a home that doesn’t fall into this category, you may want to opt for a higher level of survey.

    If you want a mid-priced property survey that gives you a thorough report of the home's condition, it is worth considering the Level 2 Survey. This will provide a much more detailed summary of the condition of the home. This then allows you to determine whether it’s a worthwhile investment.

    It is this detail that is lacking in the Level 1 Survey. This can be vital to the property transaction as it determines whether the asking price is reasonable compared to the cost of repairs.

    Compare My Move’s surveying partners are highly experienced and qualified. They can conduct a thorough investigation through either a Level 2 or Level 3 Survey.

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    Finding a Surveyor

    Compare My Move connects customers with up to 6 surveyors operating in the local area. By filling in our simple surveying comparison form, you can compare quotes and save up to 70% on your surveying costs.

    Our surveying partners are regulated by RICS. This means you can be assured that your Level 1 Survey is carried out efficiently and to the highest standards.

    Need a Removal Company?

    Following your survey and the completion of the sale, you may need to arrange a removal company. Our integrated surveying and removal comparison form allows you to compare quotes from both fields. We will match you with up to 6 surveyors and up to 6 removal companies.

    Martha Lott

    Written by Martha Lott

    Having guest authored for many property websites, Martha now researches and writes articles for everything moving house related, from remortgages to conveyancing costs.

    Mike Ashton

    Reviewed by Mike Ashton

    Director, Cambridge Building Surveyors

    With over 20 years of experience in the property surveying industry, Mike Ashton is the director of Cambridge Building Surveyors.

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