The RICS* Homebuyers Survey is a brief report designed by the RICS* in conjunction with the Consumer’s Association with you, the ‘homebuyer’ in mind. A Homebuyer Survey nicely draws together advice in a concise way that doesn’t leave you reading pages of technical data unsure which bits are relevant.

The inspection, which will be carried out by a Chartered Surveyor lasts between 2-4 hours. Whilst on site the Chartered Surveyor will inspect all structural elements of the building from the roof to the drains.* Whilst the Surveyor will not be able to open up concealed parts of the property, move furniture or carpets he or she will be trained to follow the trail of suspicion, to look for signs and suggest further investigation if he or she has concerns.

The inspection for a Homebuyer Survey includes an investigation of damp issues, rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation as well as timber defects such as over-stressed timbers and beetle infestation. A Homebuyer Survey does include a visual inspection of the services and service installations, physical testing of the services can be arranged as an extra by personnel that hold the relevant electrical or gas safe qualifications.

What is rather nice about a Homebuyer Survey is that the written report highlights matters that need attention by putting them as ACTION bullet points, with advice on what and who should be able to help. The Homebuyer Surveyor’s brief is to make an assessment of any defects which are either ‘urgent’ requiring action or ‘significant’ thus having an effect on

How to read a Homebuyer Survey

‘urgent’ means things that you should investigate prior to commitment to purchase, so that you buy aware of the potential costs of any repairs that might be required.

‘significant’ means things that affect the value of the property and are matters that you might want to take into account when negotiating the price.

A Homebuyer Survey also includes a list of items that your Legal Advisor should investigate prior to exchange of contracts.

Homebuyer Surveys come with or without a valuation and are suitable for flats and houses where the property is of an age and condition that you don’t suspect or have significant concerns. A Homebuyer Survey is not designed for properties where you are requiring advice on alterations or wanting a specification or list of repairs for a builder to attend to. If you want this type of advice you will need a building survey instead.

(*drains inspection is only part of a Homebuyer Survey for houses)


* RICS – The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) represents the property profession in 146 countries, and regulates its ‘Chartered’ members. All valuations are subject to the RICS International Valuation Standards otherwise known as the ‘Red Book’.

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