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WHICH SURVEY DO I NEED?

A home is the most expensive purchase most people ever make. As an owner you will benefit from expert advice on the condition of your property - whether you plan to live in it, rent it out or sell it. Different homes require different types of survey. The RICS offers four types of survey reports:

Property Valuation Report

This is the most basic of all the reports and is primarily a market valuation only. It involves brief inspection of the property and the surveyor reports on only major visible defects which affect the value.

RICS Condition Report

This report that a Chartered Surveyor prepares shows the condition of the property, offers guidance to legal advisors and highlights any urgent defects that are visible at the time of the survey. Typically the lowest priced of the surveys, it is aimed at conventional properties and newer homes. The report, however, does not include a market valuation or insurance rebuild cost of the property.

RICS Homebuyer (Survey) & Homebuyer (Survey & Valuation) Report

The reports Include all the features of the RICS Condition Report, plus a market valuation and insurance rebuild costs for Homebuyer Report (Survey & Valuation). Here, a chartered surveyor conducts an in-depth visual inspection of the property. Their report provides an expert account of the property's condition and highlights any problems in clear and easy to understand 'traffic light' rating.

The surveyor’s main purpose in providing the RICS HomeBuyer’s Report is to help you:

  • make a reasoned and informed decision on whether or not to go ahead with buying the property;
  • make an informed decision on what is a reasonable price to pay for the property;
  • take account of any repairs or replacements the property needs;
  • consider what other advice to take before exchanging contracts (if the property is in England or Wales.
  • The report covers the inside and outside of the building, the services and the site and includes:

    • details of the general condition and particular features of the property;
    • condition ratings for elements of the structure of the building, the services and any garages and permanent outbuildings;
    • particular points you should refer to your legal advisers;
    • specific risks associated with the property;
    • other relevant considerations – for example, the location, the local environment and the energy performance of the property (if this information is available).

    RICS Building Survey Report

    Previously known as Structural Survey, a building survey is a customised service suitable for all residential properties and gives full details of their construction and condition. You are likely to need this type of survey if, for example, the property is unusually built or run-down, if the property has been significantly altered, or if you are planning a major conversion or renovation. Building surveys are usually tailored to your needs. It is the most comprehensive of all three survey reports and will provide you with detailed technical information on materials and construction, as well as details and advice on defects, repairs and maintenance options.

    It, however, does not include a market valuation of the property although this can be provided at an additional cost.


    COMPARISON OF MAIN FEATURES OF RICS HOMEBUYER’S SERVICE AND BUILDING SURVEY REPORT

    The main features of the RICS HomeBuyer Service are compared with the features of a building survey below:

    HOMBUYER’S SURVEY

    BUILDING SURVEY

    Type of Property

    Traditional houses, flats, bungalows, etc., in apparently reasonable condition

    Any residential or other property, in any condition

    Type of Service

    Economy package in standard form Custom-made to client's individual needs

    Object of Service

    To help client to:

    (i) make a reasoned and informed decision on whether or not to proceed with property purchase;

    (ii) decide whether or not property is a reasonable purchase at agreed price;

    (iii) consider what other advice needs to be taken before exchanging contratcs.

    To provide client with:

    (i) a detailed assessment of the construction and condition of the property; and

    (ii) technical advice on problems and work needed to put them right

    Special Features

    Focus on urgent and significant matters.

    Details of construction / materials / defects

    Valuation

    Integral part of Homebuyer (Survey & Valuation) Service

    Not integral part of report but can be provided as an agreed extra

    Form of Report

    Compact and standard RICS/ISVA format Usually much longer and in Surveyor’s own format or Surveyor may choose to adopt RICS/ISVA format

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