Which type of survey do I need?
The RICS has two main types of survey: the RICS Homebuyer Survey and the Building Survey.
The RICS describes the Homebuyer Survey as:
“A Homebuyer Survey and Valuation (HSV), also known as a Homebuyer’s Report, is a survey completed to a standard format set out by RICS – it’s most suitable for conventional properties built within the last 150 years, which are in reasonable condition.
It doesn’t detail every aspect of the property, and only focuses on urgent matters needing attention. It’s not usually suitable for properties in need of renovation, or if you’re planning major alterations.
An HSV includes details of:
- The general condition of the property
- Any major faults in accessible parts of the building that may affect the value
- Any urgent problems that need inspecting by a specialist before you sign a contract
- Results of tests for damp in the walls
- Damage to timbers – including woodworm or rot
- The condition of any damp-proofing, insulation and drainage (though drains aren’t tested)
- The estimated cost of rebuilding the property for insurance purposes
- The value of the property on the open market.”
The Building Survey is described as:
“a comprehensive inspection of a property reported in a style to suit the property and your specific requirements. It’s suitable for all properties, especially:
- Listed buildings
- Older properties
- Buildings constructed in an unusual way, however old they are
- Properties you plan to renovate or alter in any way
- Properties that have had extensive alterations.
It examines all accessible parts of the property - and you can ask to have specific areas included, so it covers any particular concerns you have about the building. It is a product which can be tailored to your needs, agreed between you and your surveyor.
A Building Survey can include details of:
- Major and minor defects and what they could mean
- The possible cost of repairs
- Results of damp testing on walls
- Damage to timbers – including woodworm and rot
- The condition of damp-proofing, insulation and drainage (though drains aren’t tested)
- Technical information on the construction of the property and the materials used
- The location
- Recommendations for any further special inspections.
A Building Survey doesn’t include a valuation, but your surveyor can provide this separately if you need one.”