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What is an RICS Home Survey?

What is an RICS Home Survey?

Published: 04/07/2016

An RICS home survey is a report on the condition or value of a property, completed by a Chartered Surveyor. A Surveyor will support you through your home move and will help ensure there are no hidden defects within the property you are buying, and that you are paying the right amount. It is important that you commission an independent survey, as in 2014 homebuyers who bought without one faced an average repair bill of £5,750.

Depending on the information you are looking to obtain and the style of property, there are a number of different types of report available to homebuyers.

Mortgage Valuation

Though an RICS Surveyor normally completes a mortgage valuation, it should not be confused with an independent survey. The valuation is just a requirement of your provider before they agree to lend funds against a property and is not be particularly useful for homebuyers.

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:

• shared ownership
• right-to-buy
• tax
• probate
• matrimonial
• Capital Gain Tax (CGT)
• investment

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

An RICS HomeBuyer report covers both the condition and value of a property. It has a dedicated section to provide advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance requirements, and provides advice to your Conveyancer.

The report comes in a concise format that highlights defects or parts of the property that require repairs, with an easy-to-read traffic light condition rating. Along with an independent market value, the report also includes a reinstatement value, which is used for the building insurance.

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

• built before 1900
• substantially extended or altered
• non-standard construction
• in need of extensive renovation
• unusually large

For properties that are not suitable for a HomeBuyer report, you should commission an 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.

About the author 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.