Buyer’s guide: how to choose a survey
Getting a home survey from a professional, qualified surveyor is a vital part of the homebuying process. These often pick up on hidden issues with the property, whether the seller is previously aware of them or not. When it comes to home surveys, there are a few options available to choose from. Each survey requires the surveyor to inspect the property to a certain reasonable level of detail and report their findings. It might initially be a little daunting and tricky to get your head around.
To help you out, we’ve put this article together. It’ll go through the different types of home surveys, why they’re helpful and which properties they are most suited to.
What different home surveys are available?
At GB Home Surveys, we – like most chartered surveyors – are regulated by RICS, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. As a governing body, RICS regulations ensure that surveyors provide the highest quality inspections. Recently, RICS revamped its home survey system, making them more straightforward for people to understand.
The new home survey names are:
- Valuation (Level 1)
- Home Survey Level 2 (formerly known as a RICS Homebuyer Report)
- Home Survey Level 3 (once referred to as a Building Survey)
Below, we’ve included a little more information about the different surveys, including which surveys are often best suited to which properties.
As the simplest, most affordable option, this survey is perhaps what it sounds like – a property valuation. You could get a valuation for any property. Even these lower-level surveys can be a crucial part of buying a new home. Valuations might conclude the property is worth less than what you’re paying for it and could advise submitting a lower offer. After going through the property, the surveyor will come to an approximate conclusion of the house’s value. They’ll take into account the following:
- Any repairs that need doing
- And more
The valuation gives an excellent overview of a property, making it a perfect budget option.
Home Survey Level 2
For many buyers, a Home Survey Level 2 is the way to go. This survey is more comprehensive than a valuation and focuses more on the property’s condition. Any issues will be noted in the report, along with thoughts and advice from the surveyor. All in all, a Home Survey Level 2 provides you, the buyer, with confidence in the general state of the building. It’s most suited to any average building in good condition made with traditional building materials. Along with all the information you get from a valuation, a Home Survey Level 2 report also details maintenance advice and guidance for addressing any problems with the property.
Home Survey Level 3
Finally, at the most detailed end of the spectrum, you could get a RICS Home Survey Level 3. You might think of this one as a ‘beneath the surface’ inspection, checking for issues you sometimes can’t see with your eyes alone. This report is as in-depth as they come and hones in on construction details and structural integrity. For this reason, it’s best for properties or projects that are more ‘out there’. For example, a Home Survey Level 3 is useful for old homes, large homes or conversions (or future conversions). As well as a specialised report on the structural state of the building, you can expect everything from the Home Survey Level 2 and valuation. As an optional extra, you could also choose to get an estimate for any repair costs.
Which survey is right for me?
The right survey for you will depend on several factors, predominantly what kind of building you’re buying. In general, the higher the home survey level, the less risk there will be with your purchase. Overall, the average homebuyer is probably most suited to a Home Survey Level 2, although you could ask for any inspection level you like. Those buying old or big properties or renovating might be more inclined to get a Home Survey Level 3.
GB Home Surveys
At GB Home Surveys, all our surveyors are RICS members and provide a reliable, trustworthy inspection. We can tailor our inspection reports to you to make the moving house process as hassle-free as possible. If you’d like to get in touch to order a home survey, you’re very welcome to contact us through the website or on 03333 600 685. We hope this article has answered your questions. If, however, you’re still unsure about anything, please feel free to get in touch with us. We’ll provide a tailored no-obligation service to help you decide which survey is right for you.