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The New RICS Homebuyer Report

Wednesday, 22nd July 2009 | by: Peter Barry

Over the last few years I have prepared several hundred RICS Homebuyer Survey & Valuation Reports for our clients. For those that don’t know the ‘Homebuyer Report is what is known as a ‘level 2’ survey; far more comprehensive than a lender’s valuation but not quite as detailed as a Building Survey.

The standard format has allowed us to offer them at a reasonable fee and the simple layout of the report has proved popular. It is therefore disappointing that the format is to be abolished at the end of this year.

The RICS has developed a new Homebuyer Report to take its place which they claim will be more user friendly. The big change is that properties will receive traffic light type condition ratings, based on the surveyor’s professional judgment of the state of repair of elements of the building – a green rating indicates no repairs are necessary, whilst red points to serious defects that require urgent attention.

I often worry how much time our client’s actually spend reading their survey reports. It is why I am generally reluctant to offer verbal reports in advance of the written version as having had the ‘highlights’ a buyer is far more likely to shove the written version straight in a drawer.

My concern over this new format is that the colour coding will make it more ‘scannable’ and therefore less likely to be read in its entirety. The counter argument would be that at least by scanning the report the client’s attention is drawn to the most important elements of the report; even if they don’t read the whole thing.

We are not yet offering the new format as the necessary technological support is not yet available from the RICS although that should come on line within the next couple of months. It’s a topic that we will be returning to often here on the blog in the coming months.