RICS Home Survey Comparison

RICS, the governing body under which all UK chartered surveyors operate, has several framework options available for home surveys. Which one you’ll need will depend on a few variables, although it’s ultimately your choice.

Here at GB Home Surveys, we offer the three types of home survey:

  • Valuation
  • RICS Home Survey Level 2
  • RICS Home Survey Level 3

When comparing these three home surveys, we’ll explain what steps you can take to ensure you get the most in-depth, relevant information at the proper budget.

What is a Valuation?

A valuation is a relatively simple inspection of a house and its immediate surroundings to determine an accurate estimate of its worth. It takes into account the following (and more):

  • Condition (based on apparent appearances)
  • Age
  • Building materials and techniques
  • Historical problems
  • Local area
  • Utilities
  • General ‘desirability’, based on current market trends
  • Local amenities like shops, schools, stations and post offices

For sellers, they help decide your set market price, while mortgage providers use them to evaluate how much they may be willing to lend against the property. Chartered surveyors are also often instructed to complete a valuation for a second opinion.

Valuations are important to homebuyers, too, as the results give them the confidence that they aren’t overpaying. However, please note that most lenders commission their own valuations to ensure they aren’t making investments that are too risky. These are often carried out as part of the mortgage application process.

What is a RICS Home Survey Level 2?

A RICS Home Survey Level 2 is much more detailed than a simple valuation. You’ll get more information about the house’s condition and any problems the surveyor finds. For an extra fee, they’ll also estimate the repair costs you’re likely to encounter, something you can use to submit a lower offer or at least make sure you’re prepared for.

A Home Survey Level Two will check for signs of damp, rot, subsidence, Japanese Knotweed, woodworm, and other common problems. The chartered surveyor will inspect the walls and roof from both the outside and the loft space (if it’s safe to do so). They’ll carefully check all walls, floors and ceilings for the tell-tale signs of moisture, cracks or decay. If applicable, they’ll also look at the basement or cellar in the same way.

Overall, a RICS Home Survey Level Two is about getting a much more comprehensive understanding of a property’s condition. We’d recommend a Level 2 to most homebuyers, particularly those looking at newer properties constructed using standard building techniques. If you’re looking at ordinary houses or flats (or more recently built bungalows), it’s probably for you.

What is a RICS Home Survey Level 3?

The most detailed RICS Home Survey on offer, the Level Three goes one step deeper again. This inspection zooms in on a building’s structural integrity, reassuring you that you won’t run into serious issues further down the line.

A RICS Home Survey Level 3 includes everything from a Level 2 report. However, it expands upon the information significantly, providing you with a complete grasp of the actual state of the building. Expect to receive many more financial facts, such as potential ongoing maintenance and remediation costs. Again, repair cost estimates are available as an optional extra.

If you’re thinking of buying any of the following properties, a Home Survey Level Three is a must:

  • Barn conversion (or any other modified home)
  • Historic property (Victorian or earlier)
  • ‘Fixer upper’ or restoration/renovation project
  • Damaged building (such as flood or fire)
  • Cottage
  • Thatched roof property
  • Property in an area known for subsidence, Japanese Knotweed, or other problems

In summary, a Level 3 is for anyone making a higher risk purchase. Although it’s the most expensive home survey, it goes into the most detail, giving you the best assurance against potentially significant future issues.

Comparing RICS Home Surveys - which do I need?

It can be challenging to determine which home survey is right for you and the property you’re interested in buying (or selling).

As we mentioned, we usually recommend a Home Survey Level 2 for most people. This inspection offers an excellent balance of risk and cost. A Home Survey Level 2 is perfect for when it’s essential to know a property’s condition and be reasonably sure there aren’t any underlying structural issues.

A Level 3 survey could still be carried out on any home if you want to be entirely sure of its condition. Purchasing any high-risk property, however, should really need a more detailed inspection.

Expect a detailed report based on your RICS Home Survey Level 2 or Level 3 back within seven working days, at the latest.

If you’re simply interested in the building’s price, look no further than a valuation. These are carried out very quickly, and you should have your results back within a few days.

How can GB Home Surveys help?

At GB Home Surveys, we’re a rapidly growing team of chartered surveyors across South-West, West and Central England, and South Wales. 

We’ve been in business for more than 30 years now. Throughout these decades, we’ve developed a second-to-none understanding of local markets. As registered UK chartered surveyors, we’re all RICS members and subscribe to its values, professional competence training updates, and ethics.

A home survey is a vital part of homebuying. It protects you against unwanted future problems that could have been pinpointed or avoided before the purchase went through and can often save you more money than the survey itself costs.

If you’d like more information on the different types of RICS home surveys we offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re always happy to have a completely obligation-free chat about your needs and see what we can do to help.

We look forward to hearing from you and helping you on your journey to a new home.

Looking for a quote, or maybe you have a question? Get in touch today.

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