Imagine you have just made an offer on your dream home. You then discover the property wasn’t in as good condition as you thought. You discover potentially thousands of pounds worth of damage. If you had already purchased the property, it would be too late to go back. You would now be responsible for any expensive repairs. It is also likely that the property valuation will fall on discovery of these significant defects.
Buying a house will likely be the biggest financial commitment you ever make. That’s why it is vital to have as much information as possible before the sale is complete. You could potentially save yourself thousands of pounds by getting the property checked out first.
In this blog, we will tell you everything you need to know about what a homebuyers survey is, the types of home survey, and everything you need to know about the homebuyers report.
What is a Homebuyers Survey?
A Homebuyers survey is essentially a health check for a house. A chartered surveyor will check the condition of the property. The surveyor will note any property defects that need fixing. Once you have had an offer accepted on a property, you can organise for a home survey to take place.
*There are three types of homebuyers surveys:
- RICS Level 1 Survey
- RICS Level 2 Survey
- RICS Level 3 Survey
Level 1 Survey
This was formerly known as the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Condition Report. This is the most basic of the 3 property surveys. The surveyor will determine the overall condition of the property. They will highlight any major defects, and identify any potential legal issues or property risks. The surveyor will not however provide a property valuation.
This type of survey is most suitable for new build properties, and properties in good condition.
Level 2 Survey
The Level 2 survey was formerly known as The RICS Homebuyer Report. The Level 2 survey, or Homebuyers report is the most common home survey. This type of survey is most suitable for properties in reasonable condition. The Homebuyer report will establish if the property has any issues with damp or structural issues such as wet or dry rot. This surveyor will not look behind walls or under floorboards. The Homebuyer report may include a property valuation although this isn’t always the case. Even if there isn’t a valuation, the buyer can use the reports findings as justification to revise their offer.
Level 3 Survey or Building Survey
This is the most extensive building survey available. The RICS building survey is most suitable for older properties or properties that may need extensive work done. It uses a 1-3 rating system to measure how serious the property issues are.
- Condition rating 1 – There are no repairs needed.
- Condition Rating 2 – There are property defects but they are not urgent or severe.
- Condition Rating 3 – There are severe defects that need immediate investigation.
Do I Need a Homebuyers Survey in Scotland?
The buying and selling process is a little different in Scotland. Anyone selling a property in Scotland is legally obliged to provide a home report. This report is conducted by an independent surveyor. It is essentially a detailed report listing the overall condition of the property. It will also include a property valuation.
What Happens if my Survey Finds Property Issues?
If the survey identifies issues with damp or rot, the surveyor may recommend the buyer get a specialist damp and timber survey on the property.
The specialist damp surveyor will inspect the exterior and interior of the property looking for the causes of any issues in detail. Typically damp surveyors are CSRT/CSTDB or CSSW qualified and will use their experience and a range of specialist tools to diagnose any problems with damp and timber issues.
The surveyor will then produce a thorough report that will highlight any problems and recommendations for repairs, if necessary. This can then be used in discussions when purchasing the property.