Helping you choose the right survey
Why do you need an RICS Home Survey? Because forewarned is forearmed. Choosing the right survey will help highlight any serious problems and advise you of the specific risks before you commit to the process of buying or selling a property.
RICS has five different levels of survey. These can only be conducted by an RICS qualified surveyor.
Reliable and cost effective, these reports carry the full weight of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – the industry’s most respected authority on surveying
Buying a home
It’s important to remember that your mortgage lender’s valuation report is not a survey. It merely tells your lender whether or not the property is reasonable security for your loan. An RICS survey will tell you the actual condition of the property. That’s vital information that can be invaluable during price negotiations, and will also help you avoid expensive surprises after you’ve moved in. There is an option for an RICS Home Survey – Level 2 (with valuation) which, as the name suggests, also includes a valuation as a standard part of the service for your own purposes.
Selling a home
An RICS survey can be an aid to selling your home. It will show you any problems that may delay your sale or cause price reductions later in the process.
Staying at home
A survey of the current condition of your home will warn you of defects and help you avoid escalating repair and maintenance costs in the future.
Buying or selling? Survey your options
The RICS Home Survey – Level 1 (HomeFact®)
Choose this report if you’re buying or selling a conventional house, flat or bungalow built from common building materials and in reasonable condition.
This service includes:
- a visual inspection that is less comprehensive than the RICS Home Survey – Level 2 and the RICS Home Survey – Level 3
- clear ‘traffic light’ ratings of the condition of different parts of the building, services, and the grounds, showing problems that may require varying degrees of attention
- Contains photos of any defects
- a summary of risks to the building, people and grounds and.
- an assessment of the relative importance of the defects and problems.
- Information on broadband speed, local amenities, transport links and crime
No tests of the building fabric or services are undertaken.
The RICS Home Survey – Level 1 does not include advice on repairs or ongoing maintenance and it does not include a valuation.
The RICS Home Survey – Level 2 (survey only)
Choose this report if you need more extensive information whilst buying or selling a conventional house, flat or bungalow, built from common building materials and in reasonable condition.
The focus is on assessing the general condition of the main elements of a property. This intermediate level of service includes a more extensive visual inspection of the building, its services and grounds, but still without tests.
Concealed areas normally opened or used by the occupiers are inspected if it is safe to do so (typical examples include roof spaces, basements and cellars). The report objectively describes the condition of the different elements and provides an assessment of the relative importance of the defects/problems.
Ask your surveyor for a detailed ‘Description of the RICS Home Survey Level 2 (survey only) document.
The RICS Home Survey – Level 2 (survey and valuation)
As the RICS Home Survey – Level 2 above but includes:
- the surveyor’s professional opinion on the ‘market value’ of the property
- an insurance reinstatement figure for the property
- a list of problems that the surveyor considers may affect the value of the property.
Ask your surveyor for a detailed ‘Description of the RICS Home Survey Level 2 (survey and valuation) document.
The RICS Home Survey – Level 3
Choose this report if dealing with a large, older or run-down property, a building that is unusual or altered, or if you’re planning major works. It costs more than the other RICS reports because it gives detailed information about the structure and fabric of the property.
This service includes:
- a detailed visual inspection of the building, its services and the grounds and is more extensive than a survey level two
- Concealed areas normally opened or used by the occupiers are inspected if it is safe to do so (typical examples include roof spaces, basements and cellars)
- Although the services are not tested, they are observed in normal operation – in other words, they are switched on or off and/or operated where the occupier has given permission and it is safe to do so.
The report objectively describes the form of construction and materials used for different parts of the property. It describes the condition and provides an assessment of the relative importance of the defects/problems. Additionally, it should:
- describe the identifiable risk of potential or hidden defects in areas not inspected
- propose the most probable cause(s) of the defects based on the inspection
- outline the likely scope of any appropriate remedial work and explain the likely consequences of non-repair; and
- make general recommendations in respect of the priority and likely timescale for necessary work.
The surveyor may also be able to provide an estimate of costs for identified repairs if agreed with
We have put together a number of information fact sheets about common queries and concerns as a handy guide below. Can’t find what you are looking in the resource library give us a call in 08081 698 400 and we would be happy to help.
The roof of your property keeps the bad weather, such as rain and snow, out and it keeps the heat in. Roofs come in many shapes, sizes and designs, but regardless of their type, they have the important function of protecting the property from the weather.
The most common type of dampness in a home is condensation. This happens when moisture in the air is released and comes into contact with surfaces.
If you’re buying a new home and you are worried about Asbestos then a Countrywide Home Survey can offer you peace of mind.
A mortgage valuation is only used by the lender to help them decide whether or not to offer you the mortgage loan.
Are there any other checks I should have on my new home before completion? The short answer is yes.
Understanding Condition Ratings
The RICS home surveys and HomeFacts® survey are designed to be easy to follow. These reports use a traffic light system to alert you to the main issues.
When a surveyor carries out an RICS survey, they assess each element of the property and assign a condition rating to each. These condition ratings are then used by the surveyor to summarise the overall condition of the property and alert you to more severe defects.
There are four condition ratings
- 1 (Green)
- 2 (Amber)
- 3 (Red)
- NI – Not inspected
No repair needed and the item should be maintained in the normal way. However, you are still advised to read through these sections of the report as they may give valuable information on the construction methods used and how to maintain. This information may come in handy when carrying out home improvements.
There are defects present which should be repaired or replaced, but they are not considered to be either serious or urgent. These items should be maintained in the usual way or replaced/repaired. You should be aware of the potential future problems if these items are not addressed. These things could help you decide whether to buy a property, renegotiate or drop out altogether.
A common misconception with amber ratings is that they don’t need to be addressed, but this is not the case. Your judgement is required to assess whether you want it to be investigated further, replaced or repaired, or whether you can afford the added expense now or in the future.
Defects are severe and need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently. Red ratings should not be ignored and should be taken very seriously. You can use these red ratings as a tool to negotiate the agreed price or to reconsider the purchase. You should also consider getting further investigation into the problems.
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