Which type of survey should you have?

There are three principal types of survey which RICS members provide.  They have increasing detail.  They are described below.

The RICS Condition Report

Choose this report if you’re buying or selling a conventional house, flat or bungalow built from common building materials which is in reasonable condition.
It focuses only on the condition of the property with :

• clear ‘traffic light’ ratings of the condition of different parts of the property identifying problems which require attention;
• a summary of the risks to the condition of the building; and
• other matters and issues, if any, which should be drawn to the attention of your conveyancer.

An RICS Condition Report does not include a valuation, but your
surveyor may be able to provide this as a separate extra service.

Importantly, the surveyor will not report on defects which are hidden or not obvious from a visual inspection. This could mean that a problem, such as rotten floor joist will not be picked up. If you have concerns about the condition
of the property, consider a full Building Survey.

Download RICS’ detailed ‘Description of the RICS Homebuyer Service’ leaflet.

The RICS HomeBuyer Report

This report offers more extensive information if you are buying a house or flat built from the most common building materials and in reasonable condition.

It costs more but includes:

• the features of the Condition Report plus a more extensive inspection;
• a professional opinion on the market value of the property;
• the cost of reinstating the property for insurance purposes;
• detail of any major problems which may affect the value of the property;
• advice on repairs and maintenance;

• issues that need to be investigated to prevent serious damage or dangerous conditions;
• legal issues which should be addressed before completion; and
• information on location, local environment and the recorded energy efficiency (where available).

Importantly, the survey will not report on defects which are hidden or not obvious from a visual inspection. This could mean that a problem, such as rotten floor joist will not be picked up. If you have concerns about the condition of the property, consider a full Building Survey.

Download RICS’s ‘Description of the RICS Homebuyer Service’ leaflet.

The Building Survey

A Building Survey costs more and is more detailed survey of the property including its structure and fabric. This is probably the right survey if you’re planning any major alterations or if the house is older, in poorer condition or is a large property.

The Building Survey includes:

• a detailed inspection report on a broader set of potential problems and issues including obvious defects and hidden flaws;
• a description of repair options, likely costs as well as the cost of doing nothing; and
• advice for your conveyancer with regard to any major risks or dangerous conditions.

A building survey does not include a valuation, but your surveyor may be able to provide this as a separate extra service.

Download RICS “Description of the RICS Homebuyer Service” leaflet.

Key Differences between the Surveys

The main differences in the types of report are set out below:-

 

Describes the construction and condition of the property on the date of the inspection.
Any problems that need urgent attention or are serious.
Identifies matters that need to be investigated further so to prevent serious damage.
Tells you about problems that may be hazardous.
Shows up potential issues and defects, before any transaction takes place.
Includes the standard visual inspection during which secured panels, electrical fittings, inspection chamber covers and other similar features are not removed.
Helps you decide whether you need extra advice before committing to purchase.
Helps you prepare a budget for any repairs or restoration.
Advises you on the amount of ongoing maintenance required in the future.
An enhanced service that includes all the features of the standard inspection plus a more extensive roof space and underground drainage inspection.
Provides a reinstatement cost to help you avoid under –

or over-insurance.

Provides market valuation.
Sets out how the property is built and its materils.
Describes visible defects, plus exposing potential problems posed by hidden defects.
Outlines the repair options and give you a repair timeline, whilst explaining the consequences of not acting.
A longer and more detailed visual inspection of a wider range of issues including a more thorough consideration of the roof space, grounds floors and services
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Simpler Tip

Hidden defects such as damp or rot can cost thousands to repair.  If you have any doubts about the condition of a house, it can be a false economy to not pay for a full Building Survey.