Designed by the RICS as a cost-effective method of minimising risk, the HomeBuyer Report (or Level 2 Survey) is designed to provide buyers with enough information to make a reasoned and informed decision on whether to proceed with their purchase. We recommend this level of report for conventional properties that are in fair condition with no serious defects.
If you are buying a property that is in need of renovation, has some serious notable defects and/or are planning major alterations you would want to consider the more in-depth Building Survey (Level 3) Report.
The HomeBuyer Report includes information from the survey on the construction of the property and the amenities and transport links in its location. You will get an assessment of the condition of the property from the roof down to the floorings in an easy-to-understand Traffic Light System:
Defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.
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.
No repair is currently needed. The property must be maintained in the normal way.
Your report will also comment on the quality of insulation, damp-proofing and drainage where visible (your surveyor will lift drain covers but cannot perform any invasive tests).
During the survey, the walls will be tested for damp using a damp meter which can help diagnose the cause of any problems such as a defective roof or a build-up of condensation. The condition of any timber elements such as fascia’s, windows, doors and floors will be confirmed, and the surveyor will check for evidence of woodworm.
You will be alerted to all urgent issues (Red) that will require further specialist attention before you exchange contracts which typically includes electrical, gas & drainage although you may find that these are already available and can be supplied by the Vendor.
There is a very useful section towards the end of the report called ‘Issues for your legal advisors’ where all matters that require further investigation by your solicitor or conveyancer are summarised. The current owner has a duty to be honest when completing the property questionnaire but statements that could be confirmed by independent verification should not be relied upon.
Potential legal queries that might be highlighted in a Homebuyer Report include any ambiguity over the physical boundaries, ownership of outside space and rights of access, off-street parking, documentation relating to extensions (both to the subject property and adjoining properties) and alterations, guarantees/warranties and proposed work to areas that could not be inspected such as high-level roofs.
The language used throughout the report should be straightforward to understand with your surveyor avoiding the use of technical jargon. If you are unsure of any of the wording or recommendations, our surveyors are more than happy to talk them through over the phone. We have offices across London in Kensington, Fulham, South Woodford, Winchmore Hill, Hendon and Greenwich.
It is very rare for a HomeBuyer report to come back with no R or Amber ratings so the first thing to say is don’t panic! Seeing a dozen items that need attention can be daunting, but the key is to evaluate and attend to them one by one, and if you are in doubt, speak to your surveyor.
The most commonly reported RED items are:
Whilst detailed repair costs are not part of the Homebuyer report or service, your surveyor may be able to advise as to general costs which it would be recommended you follow up by obtaining some quotes from local builders.
Armed with all the above information we would strongly advise that you either ask the Vendor to undertake the repairs or renegotiate the under-offer price.
The purchase of property is one of the most expensive outgoings you will ever face, but most purchasers neglect to factor in the ongoing cost of maintenance and repairs. If you are lucky this could be a couple of thousand pounds a year but if unlucky, this could run to the multiple tens of thousands of pounds.
A HomeBuyer Survey and Report will give you sight and understanding of these costs and allow you to pay the right price for your property with these factored in. Where the defects and repair costs are either too significant or where the Vendor is unwilling to meet repairs or agree to a price reduction, you can always walk away from the sale knowing that the decision was an informed one.
If you are in the process of buying a property and would like to arrange an RICS Homebuyer Report (Level 2) please contact us today for a quote.