What will my home survey cover?

Buying a property is the most expensive purchase most people will make, so you’ll want to be sure you are entering the deal with your eyes wide open. The whole process can be fraught with stress and difficulty, from legal costs and insurance to mortgages and moving fees. However, before all of this, it’s important to ensure that the property you are interested in is the right one for you, that you are paying a fair price and that there are no hidden problems or nasty surprises lurking around the corner which could cost you a small fortune to sort out.

The best way to get peace of mind before you buy is to get a home survey. This is a detailed inspection of a property’s condition, which will give you all the information you need up-front, to make an informed decision on whether to buy. It will help identify any structural problems and highlight any major repairs or maintenance needed. However, choosing the right type of survey for your needs can be confusing. Here, we take a closer look at the different types of home survey you can get and what each one covers, so you can decide which one is best for your needs.

What does a home survey cover?

There are three levels of home survey based on the guidelines set out by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). They are:


A valuation is an inspection designed to give you a better idea of how much a property is worth, which can help you negotiate the right price with the seller. It highlights the overall condition of the property you are interested in when compared to similar properties in the same area. Valuations are affordable and give a good overview of the property in question, making them perfect for any property, regardless of age, type or condition. However, if you are looking for an in-depth assessment and advice, then the other types of home survey may be more suitable for your needs.

RICS Homebuyer Report

A RICS Homebuyer Report, also known as a Level Two survey, includes a more extensive visual inspection of the property, its services and grounds. It goes into much greater detail than a valuation and includes the surveyor’s professional opinion on the property’s market value.

Provided it’s safe to do so, a RICS Homebuyer Report covers the inspection of all concealed areas of the property that are accessible by residents. It includes background information on the property and its location, along with the following:

  • Assessment of damp-proofing, drainage and insulation
  • Condition of the building’s timber, including checks for rot and woodworm
  • Checks on damp in walls
  • Major faults in the accessible parts of the property that may affect its value
  • Details of other problems which need specialist attention

RICS Homebuyer Reports are suitable for a wide range of conventional properties. They’re less ideal for unique or older properties, listed buildings, extensively extended or modified homes, buildings in poor condition, and non-standard construction properties.

Building Survey

A building survey, or a RICS Level Three survey, is perfect for anyone looking to buy an older, larger or more developed property or if you are planning major renovation works. It provides an in-depth assessment of a property’s construction and structural integrity, along with guidance on defects, remediation, and ongoing maintenance.

The report can also include an estimate of repair costs as an optional extra.
The inspection is more detailed than that carried out for a RICS Homebuyer Report. It will describe in detail the legal implications of ownership. It will include a visual inspection of the building, its services and grounds, including roofs, walls, floors, windows, doors, chimneys, cellars, garages and outbuildings.

While services are not tested, they will be observed in regular operation to check their functionality. It will also detail the type of construction and materials used in each part of the property and assess each area’s condition, which will highlight any significant defects or problems. A building survey will describe the probable causes of any defects found and highlight any risks of potential or hidden defects in areas that haven’t been inspected. It will recommend any remedial work required, its priority and estimated timescales, and explain the likely consequences of not carrying it out.

Do I need a home survey?

Home surveys are optional, so you can buy a property without one. However, a home survey can help to save you a lot of money, hassle and time in the long run.
They will give you a clearer picture of the property you are buying and can help identify any hidden issues that may become big problems further down the line. If these come to light after the transaction has completed, you could be in for a nasty surprise and saddled with a repair bill for something you weren’t expecting. On the other side of the coin, a home survey can give you peace of mind that something you may have spotted is not a major problem – hairline cracks in plastering, for example, might not necessarily mean a wall is about to fall down.

A home survey can give you expert reassurance that the property is in good condition and is worth the asking price. The whole purpose of a home survey is to help you buy the property with your eyes wide open. Any problems are identified up front, so you can either renegotiate the asking price or get the seller to fix the issues before you sign on the dotted line.

Or, if you think it’s too much of a risk, it enables you to walk away without making an expensive mistake. Home surveys are suitable for all property purchases. They can be beneficial if you have any worries about the property you’re buying and want to check them out first, or if you’re unsure of the property’s condition in question and want an expert view.

Let us help

At GB Home Surveys, we offer a different approach to getting a home survey. Our service is thorough, convenient and hassle-free. It will provide you with all the information you need to make the right choices.  We’re an independent, RICS regulated chartered surveyors and have been providing trusted services for almost 30 years.

Our surveyors are all RICS members, and RICS registered valuers. They have vast local expertise and knowledge, so you can be sure you’re getting the best advice to help you buy with confidence. For a free initial consultation and a no-obligation quote, give our friendly team a call today to discuss your requirements.

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

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