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What is a HomeBuyer Report? (Level 2 Survey)

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Graham Stephenson

18th Nov 2019 (Last updated on 18th Nov 2022) 8 minute read

A Level 2 HomeBuyer Report is the most common type of survey available. It can be used on many different property types, but is most suited for properties built less than 50 years ago.

The RICS property survey will reveal important information about the condition of the property you plan to buy. This means you can either renegotiate your original offer to cover costs, or pull out of the sale.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Who Needs a HomeBuyer Report?
  2. What is Included in a HomeBuyer Report?
  3. How Long Does it Take?
  4. How Much Does It Cost?
  5. What Does a HomeBuyer Report Look Like?
  6. What Are Common Issues Found?
  7. Other Types of House Survey
  8. FAQS

Who Needs a HomeBuyer Report?

The survey can be used for most types of property, from a standalone house to a flat.

You’ll need a HomeBuyer Report if the property is:

  • Fairly modern and built less than 50 years ago
  • In good condition
  • Has no obvious signs of damage
  • Hasn’t had any renovation work done

It will be the buyer's responsibility to organise a property survey once they've had their house offer accepted. In Scotland, it's the seller's responsibility.

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What is Included in a HomeBuyer Report?

The HomeBuyers Report will include a thorough external and internal inspection of the property, presenting the findings in an easy to read report. The report will also include background information on the property and location.

The surveyor will inspect all the visible and accessible areas of the property and can also take your specific concerns into consideration, paying particular attention to those worrisome areas - this will then be reflected in their report.

A surveyor will look at the following during a HomeBuyer Report:

Internally:

  • Roof structure
  • Ceilings
  • Walls and partitions
  • Floors (if not covered)
  • Fireplaces, chimney breasts and flutes
  • Built-in fittings
  • Woodwork (staircase and joinery)
  • Bathroom fittings

    Externally:

    • Chimney stacks
    • Roof coverings
    • Rainwater pipes and gutters
    • Main walls
    • Windows
    • Outside doors
    • Conservatory and porches
    • Other joinery and finishes

    Other:

    • Garages
    • Conservatories
    • Tenure
    • Services

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

    How Long Does it Take?

    A HomeBuyers Report will take 2-4 hours to complete and 3-5 working days for the report to be returned to you, normally by email.

    1. Booking a property survey

    Buyers book their survey once they have had their offer accepted. You should start getting quotes as soon as possible to avoid any delay in the chain. If there's somebody currently living in the property, you'll need to agree with them ahead of time when the survey will take place.

    Your estate agent will usually suggest that you make the offer on the condition that a survey does not produce any significant or costly findings. Once the survey is complete, there's nothing to stop you from going back to the seller and attempting to negotiate the house price based on the findings.

    2. On the day of the survey

    A HomeBuyer Report will take between 2-4 hours to complete. This varies depending on the size of the property as well as the accessibility the surveyor has to various parts of the house. Other surveys might take less or more time, depending on the size of the house.

    If possible, it's good to ask the surveyor what access they will need ahead of time and make sure this is available for their visit. Not only will this ensure that the survey is completed quickly, but will also ensure that no crucial areas are neglected in the report.

    3. House survey results

    You will receive your homebuyers report within 3-5 working days. It’s usually sent via email but can request a hard copy if you prefer. This can vary based on the size and condition of the building as well as how busy the surveyor is.

    To learn more, read how long does a survey take on a house.

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    How Much Does It Cost?

    The average HomeBuyers Report cost is £500 for a house priced between £200,001 and £300,000, though can be as cheap as £380 for properties worth up to £100,000. HomeBuyer survey costs will vary depending on the size of the property as well as other factors.

    Average HomeBuyer Report cost for a range of property prices:

    Property PriceAvg. Homebuyers Survey Cost
    up to £100,000£380
    £100,001 - £200,000£420
    £200,001 to £300,000£500
    £300,001 to 400,000£570
    £400,001 to £500,000+£640+

    We took the average costs from a sample of 20 RICS Chartered Surveyors and Building Societies across the UK

    What Does a HomeBuyer Report Look Like?

    A HomeBuyer Report will use a traffic light system to highlight the severity of repairs. As the name suggests, the traffic light system works based on three colours: red, amber and green, with green meaning no repairs needed and red meaning urgent repair.

    You can expect a HomeBuyers Report to look like:

    ColourCondition RatingWhat This Means

    Green

    Condition Rating 1

    No repair is currently needed. The property must be maintained in the normal way.

    Amber

    Condition Rating 2

    Defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be either serious or urgent. The property must be maintained in the normal way.

    Red

    Condition Rating 3

    Defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.

    NI

    Not Inspected

    If cupboards were blocked or roof space blocked then it can not be inspected.

    What Are Common Issues Found?

    Common issues found in a HomeBuyer Report are damp, subsidence and any cracks on walls. We’ve discovered the biggest concerns for UK home buyers based on information supplied when searching for a surveyor.

    The top 5 concerns when buying a property are:

    1. Damp

    Damp is the top concern when buying a property, with almost 1 in 4 homebuyers noting it as a potential issue for a surveyor to explore. Damp is a common problem, particularly in older properties, and is usually caused by either poor ventilation, a leaking roof, failed damp proof course or plumbing problems. Your surveyor will carry out a full inspection of each potential cause and the severity of the damp in the property.

    To learn more, read What is a Damp Survey.

    2. Cracks and Roofing

    Following in joint second place is ‘cracks’ and ‘roofing’, with almost one in six (14.9%) highlighting these two issues as a concern. While most houses will experience cracks in the walls at some point, most of the time, it’s a natural occurrence caused by settlement which can be easily fixed. However, larger cracks could be a sign of serious structural problems, like damage to the foundations, which should be taken seriously.

    To learn more, read Ceiling Cracks, When to Worry.

    3. Subsidence

    8.3% of UK homebuyers stated they were concerned about 'subsidence’ when buying a property. If you’re worried about potential subsidence, it’s worth noting homes built on clay are particularly susceptible to subsidence during long, dry summers. This is something a surveyor and conveyancer will investigate as part of your house purchase.

    To learn more, read What is Subsidence.

    4. Flooring

    Another concern is ‘flooring’, with it taking up 6.5% of all concerns from homebuyers. Both Level 2 and Level 3 surveys are non-intrusive, which means that a surveyor can't rip up floorboards or take up carpet unless it is easily accessible without damage. If this is something you're worried about, make sure to let the surveyor know.

    5. Asbestos

    A further 2.8% of concerns revolved around finding asbestos in a property survey. It's mostly found in properties that were built before 1999, as it's no longer used in construction. Rest assured, your HomeBuyer Report will flag any signs of this.

    To learn more, read Buying a House with Asbestos.

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    Other Types of House Survey

    There are other house surveys available, but the type of survey you need will depend on the property you’re buying. The main house surveys are:

    1. Condition Report (Level 1)

    The Condition Report isn't very in-depth so is suited for standard properties and relatively new homes in good condition, such as flats.

    2. HomeBuyer Report (Level 2)

    As mentioned above, the HomeBuyer Report is for properties built less than 50 years ago in good condition.

    3. Building Survey (Level 3)

    Suited for higher-risk properties, the Building Survey is a more comprehensive survey that will give you a better idea of any costly or potentially costly issues within the building.

    4. Snagging List

    New build properties only require a Snagging List as they are brand new so shouldn't any defects. This is especially true of new builds that are still under new home warranty.

    5. RICS Valuation

    A RICS Valuation is not a property survey and is required to prove to your mortgage lender that the house is worth what they’re lending you.

    To learn more, read our guide on types of house survey.

    FAQS

    What Else Can Be Found in a Survey?

    Other common issues found in property surveys that didn't make it to the most popular concerns are dry rot and woodworm. Dry rot is a type of fungal decay found in properties that can cause structural damage if left untreated. Woodworm is also a common issue found in surveys, which is mainly found in damp properties. Although most of the time woodworm isn't a deal-breaker, it can cause structural damage in certain circumstances.

    Is It Worth Getting a HomeBuyer Report?

    It’s always worth getting a HomeBuyers Report or a Building Survey on a property you’re buying. Although it’s not a legal requirement to get a property survey, it’s highly recommended for peace of mind. According to RICS, 1 in 5 property buyers who didn’t have a survey conducted, later found faults throughout their house.

    HomeBuyer Report Vs Building Survey

    A Building Survey is the most in-depth survey available, so will offer a more detailed examination than a HomeBuyers Report - that's why it's suited for older buildings.

    What If My Survey Reveals a Problem?

    If your survey reveals issues that you can't get past, you can always pull out of the purchase as you will get the results before exchanging contracts. Most commonly, people try to negotiate their original offer to cover the repair costs on any damage found.

    Learn More About Surveying

    This is part of our guide to surveying. In the next article, we look at building surveys, previously known as full structural surveys. To learn more read what is a building survey or full structural survey.

    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.

    Graham Stephenson

    Reviewed by Graham Stephenson

    MRICS Director and Owner, MAP Chartered Surveyors

    Founded in 1985, Graham's company, MAP Chartered Surveyors are RICS regulated and quality assured to British Standards.

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