What is a RICS Homebuyers Survey? (Level 2)
The RICS HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2) is the most common and popular type of survey available. It can be used on many different property types but is most suited for conventional and modern homes built less than 50 years ago.
The survey is a comprehensive visual inspection of the property. It will reveal important information about the condition of the home you plan to buy. This means you can contact the estate agent to either renegotiate the property's asking price to cover costs or pull out of the sale.
What Type of Property Requires a HomeBuyers Survey?
The survey can be used for most types of property, from a standalone house to a flat. They usually consist of the following:
- Fairly modern and built less than 50 years ago
- In good condition
- Has no obvious signs of damage
- Has had minimal renovation work done
How Much Does It Cost?
The average HomeBuyers Survey 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. Survey costs will vary depending on the size of the property as well as other factors.
These factors include:
- The surveyor you opt for
- The location of the property
- The value of the property
- How long the surveyor spends inspecting the property and compiling the report
If damp, structural concerns or electrical issues are found, your surveyor may suggest hiring a specialist surveyor to inspect the issue. Be aware that this will be another cost to factor into the house buying process.
Average HomeBuyers Survey cost for a range of property prices:
|Property Price||Avg. 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
If you instead opt for a Level 3 Building Survey, the cost will increase as this is a much more thorough survey. The level of detail accounts for the size, age and condition of a property which requires this type of survey. For comparison, the average Level 3 Survey cost for 2023 is £800.
What Does a Homebuyers Survey Cover?
A Homebuyers Survey contains the following:
- A thorough external inspection of the home including roof, windows, pipes, gutters and chimneys
- An internal inspection of the home including the major indoor features like walls, ceilings, fireplaces and bathroom fittings
- An overall assessment of the condition of the home
- A traffic light grading system to indicate the severity of issues found
- Highlights any urgent house repairs
- Reviewing services such as gas, electric, water and drainage
The findings are then presented in an easy-to-read report. This will also include background information on the property and location, in addition to any observations about planning and building, disputes and legal matters.
To learn more, read what does a surveyor do and look for.
How Long Does it Take?
A Level 2 (HomeBuyers Survey) will take 2-4 hours to complete and 3-5 working days for the report to be returned to you, normally by email. You may be able to request a paper format for an additional fee.
This varies depending on the size of the property as well as the accessibility the surveyor has to various parts of the house.
Buyers should book their survey once they have had their offer accepted. 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.
To learn more, read how long does a survey take on a house.
What Does the Survey Report Contain?
Your survey report will include the findings uncovered by the surveyor during their inspection of the home. It may also include the surveyor's recommendations.
The report format includes a traffic light system to rate the severity of repairs. As the name suggests, the traffic light system works based on three colours: red, amber and green.
The table below includes a breakdown of what each rating means:
|Colour||Condition Rating||What This Means|
Condition Rating 1
No repair is currently needed. The property must be maintained in the normal way.
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.
Condition Rating 3
Defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.
If cupboards were blocked or roof space blocked then it can not be inspected.
What If Issues are Found in My Survey?
If severe issues are found in your survey, you can pull out of the sale before exchanging contracts. However, you will lose any money spent so far in the transaction, such as surveying and conveyancing fees.
If there are manageable issues, you could negotiate the house price to pay for the work required. Alternatively, you can ask the seller to get it fixed before the transaction is final.
Some of the common issues found in a survey include:
2. Cracks and Roofing Issues
4. Flooring concerns
7. Dry Rot
8. Japanese Knotweed
Is It Worth Getting a HomeBuyers Survey?
Yes, it is highly recommended to get a HomeBuyers Survey when buying a house. However, it is not a legal requirement across the majority of the UK. A survey will make you aware of any issues and potential costs before you commit to the purchase.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found during a study that 1 in 5 property buyers who didn’t have a survey conducted later found faults in their houses and faced unplanned costs. The research found that participants had to spend an average of £5,750 on unexpected repair work.
Other Types of House Surveys
There are other house surveys available, but the right survey for the home will depend on the property you’re buying. There is also a range of specialist surveys such as Timber Surveys and Asbestos Surveys. These will look at specific concerns in the home, focusing on areas where treatment or remedial work may be required.
The main house surveys are:
1. Condition Report (Level 1)
The Home Condition Report is suitable for standard properties and new homes in good condition. This gives a general overview without too much detail.
2. RICS HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2)
The Homebuyers Survey is for properties built less than 50 years ago in good condition. This will give you an idea of the overall condition of your potential future home.
3. RICS Building Survey (Level 3)
Suited for larger or older properties, the Building Survey is a more comprehensive survey. This will give you a better idea of any costly or potentially costly issues within the building. This survey can help you prepare for unexpected repair costs.
4. Snagging Survey
New build properties usually only require a professional Snagging Survey or Snagging List. Despite being brand new homes, there still may be errors or defects in the construction. A new-build snagging survey will highlight any issues, allowing the developer to remedy these concerns early on. Many of these homes should still be under a new home warranty.
5. RICS Valuation
A RICS Valuation is not a property survey. This 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.