What is a Level 2 HomeBuyers Survey?
The HomeBuyers Survey, also known as a RICS Level 2 Survey, is the most popular survey type for home buyers. It’s a mid-level survey, so it's not as detailed as the Level 3 but much more thorough than the Level 1.
The HomeBuyers Survey will highlight any urgent and non-urgent work needed. However, it’s a non-intrusive survey, so your surveyor will only examine visible areas. They won’t look under carpets or move any furniture.
The survey can be used to assess the condition of many property types including; conventional homes, flats and bungalows. It'll help you make an informed decision before legally buying the property.
You can use the findings to help renegotiate the property price to cover repair costs. Alternatively, if the report shows bad results, you can pull out of the sale altogether before exchanging contracts. However, you will lose the cost of your survey and solicitor fees already paid.
Here’s an example of a HomeBuyers Survey report so you know what to expect from your survey. Report provided by Cambridge Building Surveyors.
What Will a HomeBuyers Survey Look At?
Your property surveyor will carry out a detailed inspection of the interior and exterior of the property. They will only examine what is easily visible to them.
We’ve created a HomeBuyers Survey checklist so you know what to expect from your survey:
Inside the property:
- Roof structure
- Walls and partitions
- Fireplaces, chimney breasts and flues
- Built-in fittings (excluding appliances)
- Bathroom fittings
Outside the property:
- Permanent outbuildings and other structures
- Roof coverings
- Rainwater pipes and gutters
- Main walls
- Outside doors (including patio doors)
- Conservatories and porches
- Water heating
- Common services
Your report will also include any recommendations and advice from the surveyor. It'll highlight any observations about planning and building, disputes and legal matters.
If you opt for a Valuation as well, the RICS HomeBuyers Report will include a market value of the property and an insurance reinstatement figure.
HomeBuyer Survey Condition Ratings Explained
Everything the surveyor looked at will be presented in an easy-to-read report and given a condition rating. This rates the severity and urgency of repairs. RICS categorises the ratings as follows:
Condition rating 1: No repair needed.
Condition rating 2: Defects that don’t need urgent repairs.
Condition rating 3: Defects that are serious and should be urgently fixed.
How Much is a HomeBuyers Survey?
The average HomeBuyers Survey cost is £500 for the average property price. We’ve researched average house survey costs from a sample of 20 RICS Chartered Surveyors and Building Societies across the UK.
|Avg. Homebuyers Survey Cost
|up to £100,000
|£100,001 - £200,000
|£200,001 to £300,000
|£300,001 to 400,000
|£400,001 to £500,000+
Are there any additional costs?
Your survey costs will vary depending on the size of the property as well as other factors, including:
- The surveyor you opt for
- The location of the property
- The value of the property
- The time the surveyor spends inspecting the property and compiling the report
If damp, structural concerns or electrical issues are found, your surveyor may suggest getting specialist surveys to inspect the issue. This will be another cost to factor into the house-buying process.
How Long Does a HomeBuyers Survey Take?
A Level 2 HomeBuyers Survey will take 2-4 hours to complete and 3-5 working days for the report to be sent to you, normally by email. You may be able to request a paper format for an additional fee.
The timescale will depend on the size of the property as well as the accessibility the surveyor has.
Buyers should book their survey once they have had their offer accepted. This will help to avoid any delays in the house-buying process. You'll need to agree with the seller ahead of time when the survey will take place.
Common Red Flags on a Survey
The most common problems highlighted in property surveys are:
- Cracks and roofing issues
- Flooring concerns
- Dry rot
- Japanese Knotweed
If you’re concerned about any of these issues before your survey, you can let the surveyor know.
Other Types of House Surveys
A range of house surveys are available and the type of survey you’ll need will depend on the property type. The main property surveys are as follows:
1. RICS Home Survey Level 1 - £380
The Level 1 Survey, previously known as the RICS Condition Report is suitable for nearly new homes and flats in good condition. This gives a general overview without too much detail, so isn’t suitable for older homes.
2 RICS Home Survey Level 3 - £800
Suitable for older properties made from uncommon materials, the Level 3 Survey is more comprehensive. Previously known as the RICS Building Survey, this survey will offer a detailed inspection of the building’s structure. It’ll also give you an idea of the potential costs to fix any defects found.
3. Snagging Survey - £300-£600
New build properties will require a Snagging Survey. 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. These are offered by both RICS and RPSA surveyors on our network.
4. RICS Valuation Report - £320
A RICS Valuation Report is not a property survey but is required to prove to your mortgage lender that the house is worth what they’re lending you. A mortgage valuation survey won’t highlight any property issues so you should still get a house survey carried out on top of this.
5. Home Report (Scotland) - £585-£820
In Scotland, it's the seller's responsibility and legal requirement to get a Home Report. The Home Report is made up of a single survey, an energy performance certificate and a property questionnaire. The single survey provided will produce reports like that of a Level 2, with similar issues and defects being recorded.
Is a Home Buyer Survey Worth It?
It’s worth getting a HomeBuyers Survey to be aware of the overall condition of the property before you legally have to buy it. RICS found that 1 in 5 buyers who didn’t have a survey conducted later found faults and faced unplanned costs. The research found that participants had to spend an average of £5,750 on unexpected repair work.
Should I Get a Level 2 or Level 3?
The Level 3 Survey, previously known as the Building Survey or Full Structural Survey, is suited for older properties built with uncommon materials. If you’re buying a period property or a thatched cottage, for example, you will need a Level 3.
Can I Reduce My Offer On a House After Survey?
You can use your survey results to negotiate your original offer to cover the cost of any repair work needed. The seller isn’t under any obligation to accept your new offer, but it is always worth trying.
Do I Need A Survey For A New Build?
Yes, you’ll need to get a Snagging Survey for a new build. You won't need a Level 2 or 3 Survey as there shouldn’t be any structural damage on a newly built property. The new build Snagging Survey highlights defects like damage to paintwork or small unfinished jobs throughout the property.
Do You Need a Survey When Buying a Flat?
If you’re buying a purpose-built flat, you will need a RICS Home Survey Level 1 or 2, depending on age and condition. If you’re buying a converted flat that was once a period property, then you’ll need a Level 3 Survey.
Is a Mortgage Valuation Enough?
A Mortgage Valuation is a very basic inspection to provide an accurate idea of its value to your mortgage provider. It is not a property survey and won’t provide any comment on the building’s structure or condition.
What Survey Would I Need in Scotland?
In Scotland, you'll need a Home Report, but it's the seller's responsibility to order this. It must be carried out before a sale is complete to ensure that buyers are aware of the property's condition.
Where To Find a Surveyor
At Compare My Move, we can connect you with up to 6 surveyors and save you up to 70% on your surveying costs. Simply fill in our surveying comparison form to get connected today and find the right company for you.
All our surveying partners have passed our strict verification process. For companies offering Home Surveys and Valuation Reports, they must be registered with RICS. Firms specialising in Party Wall and Snagging Surveys can be regulated by either the RPSA or RICS.
Need a Removal Company?
Once your survey and property transaction goes through, you may need a removal company. Our surveying and removal comparison form matches you with companies in just a few extra steps. We can connect you with up to 6 removal companies and save up to 70% on your removal fees.