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Home survey


Homebuyers survey


There are two main types of house survey. The 'Home buyer's Survey and Valuation' (HSV/HBSV/Homebuyer's report) and the 'Building Survey'. 


These two types of house survey cover different levels of building inspection and are suitable for different types of property.


A home survey should be undertaken and the results taken into consideration before you enter into any kind of contractual agreement. This way, if the home survey highlights defects or problems with the property, then as a home buyer, you are in a position to negotiate the asking price. 


You can then take into consideration any repairs which may have to be made before you are bound to the sale. In fact, your lender may insist on repairs being completed before release of full mortgage funds.


Homebuyer Report


A homebuyer report is a type of survey designed for particular types of homes, defined by the R.I.C.S (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) as "conventional in type and construction" and "apparently in reasonable condition". This type of survey is less expensive than a building survey (although more expensive than a valuation) and provides a report which highlights any immediate problems or defects which will have an effect on the value of the property.


According to the R.I.C.S, the main objectives of the Homebuyer's Report are to:


  • Make a reasoned and informed judgment on whether or not to proceed with the purchase

  • Assess whether or not the property is a reasonable purchase at the agreed price

  • Be clear what decisions and actions should be taken before contracts are exchanged.


Building survey


This type of survey is suitable for all residential properties and provides a detailed report on the construction and condition of the property. Because the level of detail is higher than the Homebuyer's Report, a building survey is more expensive.

There are several reasons that would suggest that you need a building survey:


  • If the property is of an unusual construction

  • If it is an old property

  • If the property is dilapidated or in need of serious structural repair

  • If the property has had extensive alterations

  • If you are planning to convert or renovate the building in a major way




The full building survey provides detailed information about the state of the property. This includes extensive technical information on the construction of the house, details about materials used in construction and a report listing all major and minor defects. The full building survey does not provide a valuation although this can be arranged as an extra report, on agreement with the surveyor.


For more information about home reports, homebuyers reports, building surveys,  house surveys and surveyors, contact the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (R.I.C.S).

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