RICS SURVEYS

CHOOSING A RIGHT HOUSE SURVEY

For most people, their car and property are their two biggest assets. A lot of money is involved in buying a home. Therefore, you want to be sure there are no hidden defects and issues with the property.

Luckily, there are services that point out hidden problems with your home.

Chartered Surveyors who are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) provides this service. This service takes the form of a survey. A surveyor will come to inspect your property and point out potential issues with the property. They will also provide advice on how to deal with them.

RICS provides three different levels of survey. Each level is normally designed to advise on specific issues that can be found in the property. To effectively use RICS services, it is not enough to simply survey your house. You need to ensure that you choose the right survey level for your property.

Let us guide you through the process of home surveys. From why they are important to choosing the right type and other essential information, we have got you covered.

Types of RICS Surveys

There are 3 types of surveys:

Condition report (Level 1)
Homebuyer survey (Level 2)
Building survey (Level 3)

When deciding on which type to obtain, you should not choose the type according to its cost. Surveys are relatively inexpensive considering how much you might have to pay down the line if you choose not to obtain one at all.

Rather, focus on the condition of your property and choose the type of survey that will work for you.

RICS Surveys Types
Condition Survey (Level 1)
Homebuyer Survey (Level 2)
Building Survey (Level 3)
What It Covers
Property condition, superficial defects, shows potential risks and issues, points out negative factors which may affect property value.
Property condition internally and externally, shows defects, risks and issues in traffic light system, points where and when repairs & maintenance needs to be carried out.

Also, provides valuation and reinstatement value of the property.

A most detailed assessment of internal and external property condition, site grounds, services and legal matters.

It is the most complete report out of all. Also, provides advice on current and future repairs and maintenance that property may need.

What It Is Best For?
New build and modern properties, can be used for snagging, housing disrepair notices.
Properties of standard construction built after 1940s, also for any age properties in good condition.
Properties built prior 1940s, poor condition properties, non-residential buildings and listed buildings.
Typical Costs
£450 to £950
£500 to £1,000
£720 to £1,400

RICS Surveys Traffic Light System

All RICS surveys are conducted in a traffic light system which is made to ensure that survey reports could be easily read by both legal advisers and homebuyers.  

Condition Rating 3 (Red)
These elements have defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently. Failure to do so could risk serious safety issues or severe long-term damage to your property
Condition Rating 2 (Amber)
Defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be either serious or urgent. The property must be maintained in the normal way.
Condition Rating 1 (Green)
No repair is currently needed. The elements listed here must be maintained in the normal way.

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Condition Report

A condition report is a level one report. You should use this report if you are considering buying a property of a standard size. The property should be relatively new and appear to be in good condition.

It is the most basic type of survey. Ultimately, you should use this survey if everything appears to be in order. It will help to confirm that things are in order and you have not missed anything

The condition report will give you a brief overview of the property’s condition. It will point out any risks the house faces and show you any urgent defects that need immediate attention, as well as other things that might affect the safety of the property.

You will also be notified of any legal issues that might arise.

However, the condition report does not include any advice or property valuation. Thus, it is the cheapest of the surveys and typically costs between £400 and £950.

Homebuyer Report

The RICS homebuyer report, otherwise known as a homebuyer survey, is a level 2 report. You should use this report for standard properties that appear to be in a reasonable condition. The homebuyer survey is the most popular type of property survey.

The RICS homebuyer report covers everything the condition report covers and more. This report will point out any issues that could affect the property’s value, not only the urgent defects, and provide advice from the surveyor on repair options and future maintenance.

The RICS homebuyer report will also point out any structural issues. Examples of such issues are subsidence (sinking ground beneath the property) and dampness.

Additionally, it will notify you if any parts of the building are not up to date with building regulations.

It is important to note that the homebuyer report is non-intrusive. This means that the surveyor will not look behind the walls and beyond the floorboards.

Often, the RICS homebuyer report comes with a market valuation. This is the surveyor’s estimate of the value of the house in the current market. This is incredibly valuable information, especially if their valuation is lower than the mortgage valuation.

If the homebuyer report does not come with a market valuation, it will often include an estimate of repair costs. This is frequently used to renegotiate the price. Homebuyers will often request that the property price be decreased by the cost of repairing the property.

You can also often ask the surveyor for advice on any other issues you may have.

RICS homebuyer reports typically cost between £450 and £1000.

Building Survey

The building survey is a level three report and is the most comprehensive of the three RICS building surveys.

It is advised to use the RICS building survey when your property is larger or older than average. Houses that are over 50 years old are considered older properties. This is the survey for houses that are in poor condition.

The building survey is also advised for those planning on renovating their home and for houses with an unusual design.

The RICS building survey is incredibly thorough. The surveyor will report on the structure and condition of the property and this extensive survey will go beyond surfaces. This means that they will do things like look under floorboards, check the attic and look behind furniture.

For a building survey, surveyors will point out any defects that could affect the property’s current or future value. They will point out any repairs that you may need to do. If you do need to make repairs, you can ask the surveyor for cost and time estimates of the repairs.

The building survey will also likely include advice on maintenance.

It’s important to note that building surveys are usually done on larger properties and not flats.

In addition, you can often ask the building for a survey valuation. If no valuation is included, you can use the costs of repairs to work out the value of the house.

Building surveys typically cost between £600 and £1500.

How Long Does It Take?

Property surveys are not one of those services that always takes the same amount of time. The amount of time depends on which level of survey you chose.

Level one surveys are often completed in less than an hour. A level two survey can take as long as four hours and sometimes takes even longer. A level three survey, considering how thorough it is, can take up to a whole day.

The length of your survey also depends on the size of your house. The bigger your property, the longer the survey will likely take. Regardless, the survey itself should never take longer than a day.

Survey reports, however, are usually not provided on the day of the survey. When your surveyor comes to evaluate your house, they will inform you how long it will take for them to give you the report. This depends on which level survey is taking place, as well as how complex the job is. It should not take longer than 10 days.

Why Do You Need To Conduct A Survey And How Can It Help?

Buying a house costs a lot of money, and people are not often willing to take on extra costs. However, skipping a RICS home survey is one of the services you should not skip to save money. Buying a home is expensive, yes. But, this is exactly why you should know exactly what you are buying.

Home surveys provide you with the knowledge, advice and guidance you need to make an informed decision when you buy a home. Chartered surveyors have the experience to provide you with information that could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Many think they do not need a survey if their mortgage lender has conducted a mortgage valuation. They are mistaken. Mortgage valuations are not comprehensive enough to replace a home survey!

After the right assessment, you know the exact condition of the property you want to buy. You are aware of any defects and problems with the property and can account for them in your price offer.

Buying a house is a big decision and many people spend years paying off their mortgage. With the right survey, however, you can make sure that the house you are buying is not over-valued.

How To Find Surveyors

When you are looking for a surveyor, you must ensure that they are registered with a trade association. In the UK, there are two main trade associations. There is the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA).

Luckily, we are fully regulated firm by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and offer surveying services. Our team has first-class experience uncovering high expenditure defects and saving you from potentially high repair costs. 

What To Do If A House Survey Uncovers Problems?

Almost all properties will reveal problems after this type of assessment, especially older properties. Common things that will need work include damp problems, electrical issues, roof problems and timber issues. There are, however, a host of other defects that might reveal themselves.

It is advised that you are present with the surveyor while they conduct the assessment so that you can raise your concerns while they are on the site.

After the surveyor has pointed out problems with the property, you should find out if they are still covered by a guarantee.

You should then try and find out how much money you will have to spend on repairs and ask the surveyor for a cost estimate. With larger jobs, it is best that you get an official quote from a builder.

Don’t Hesitate To Obtain a Survey

Property surveys are an extremely beneficial service that is often overlooked. Buying a house is a big commitment and most people will spend ages paying off their mortgage. Therefore, before putting an offer in, you want to be sure of the property you are buying.

So, do not skip a property survey! Spending a small amount today could save you an incredible amount in the long run. To reap the full benefits, make sure you choose the right type of survey for your property.

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Our Client Testimonials

CHARTERED SURVEYORS LONDONErikas Grig Chartered Surveyors
5 Stars - Based on 25 Client Reviews

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