Buying a house? Here’s how to buy better

July 7, 2016

How an RICS Home Survey can help you buy better

Buying a property is one of the most expensive and significant purchases many people will make in their lives. It’s a process many people will only go through a couple of times in their life – so how do you make sure you’re getting a good deal?

A Surveyor can support you throughout your home purchase and can ensure that you pay the right amount for your property. They can also help ensure there are no underlying or hidden defects within the property that you will have to fix after completion. In 2014, homebuyers who did not undertake an independent survey faced an average £5,750 of unforeseen repair bills.

There are a number of different reports within the RICS home survey suite and which one you commission will depend on the information you are looking to obtain, along with the type and style of property.

 Mortgage Valuation

If you buy your property with a mortgage, your provider will require  that you undertake a mortgage valuation. This consists of a brief inspection of the property, to ensure it is worth enough to cover your loan. You should be aware that a mortgage valuation is solely for the mortgage provider and will not provide you with very much information.

However, there are a number of different reports within the RICS home survey suite which are extremely useful when purchasing. Which one you commission will depend on the information you are looking to obtain, along with the type and style of property.

Surveyor pic

Valuation Report

The most basic RICS home survey is a valuation report, which unlike a mortgage valuation can be used for many purposes, such as:

The most basic purpose of a mortgage valuation is to confirm whether you are paying the correct amount for a property. The report will not give a detailed look at the condition, but will reference large, obvious defects that may have a significant affect on the value of your property. For more detailed information on the condition of a property, you should commission a HomeBuyer report or building survey.

HomeBuyer Report

A HomeBuyer Report is the middle tier survey in the RICS home survey suite and it will report on the condition and value of a property. A HomeBuyer Report includes a dedicated section to provide advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance requirements, and also includes an independent valuation and reinstatement value.

HomeBuyer reports come in a standard traffic light format, with a red, amber, green colour coding system. This works in the same way as traffic lights and makes the report easy to read and digest.

This type of survey is only suitable for properties built after 1900, however it is not suitable for properties that are:

If the property you are buying falls into any of the above categories, it may be more suited to the RICS Building Survey.


Building Survey

A Building Survey is the top tier RICS home survey suite. The survey includes a wide-ranging inspection and a comprehensive report, on the construction and condition of a property. Formally known as known as a structural survey, it is sometimes confused with a structural report, which is completed by a Structural Engineer rather than a Chartered Surveyor.

Building Surveys are not of a standard form and are bespoke for the property you are buying. More detail is included for parts of the property that you have particular concerns about or where defects have been uncovered. Your Surveyor may also include repair estimates, advice on extensions or photographs. Though not included as standard, a valuation can be included for an additional fee.

We pride ourselves on our knowledge and the advice we offer to all our clients. Whether you are selling your home or looking to buy in Walthamstow or surrounding areas make sure you gives us a call.

About the author

We would like to thank for this guest blog. is a brokerage for RICS Chartered Surveyors. You can get free, fixed quotes from local RICS Chartered Surveyors by either visiting our website or calling us on 0333 011 6683.



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