HomeBuyer Report vs Building Survey

Learn the main difference between a HomeBuyer Report and a Building Survey, is it worth getting a HomeBuyers Survey or should you opt for a more comprehensive one, the Building Survey? These are just some of the questions we are going to answer with our HomeBuyer Report vs Building Survey Guide.

The main difference between a Building Survey and HomeBuyer Report (HBR) is that a RICS Level 3 survey (Building Survey or used to be known as Full Structural Survey) is significantly more comprehensive. 

A Building Survey is the most comprehensive home survey available to a homeowner or a buyer and is highly recommended if the property is an older property and/or if you are planning carrying major work on it.

This RICS Building Survey will include the elements of a HBR, apart from the valuation along with a more in depth analysis of the building condition. The detailed report will describe in detail any defect uncovered during the inspection along with advice and maintenance options. 

Also, an estimate of repair is also offered into this RICS Level 3 survey. As we mentioned before, a Building Survey is suitable for building older than 80 years old, using non-traditional materials or a non conventional method of construction (such a thatched cottage) or if the house has more than 4 bedrooms or is relatively complex.

A HomeBuyer Report, is a RICS Level 2 survey and is conducted by an RICS qualified surveyor which will report on building condition and any issues by carrying out a detailed visual inspection of the property (indoor and outdoor of main building and any permanent annexes).

The HBR will include any areas of concerns, comments on property condition or any guidance to any potential legal issues. The HomeBuyer Report uses a traffic light rating to prioritize any uncovered defects or damages by gravity and urgency. 

Also, the surveyor will include a market valuation and insurance rebuild costs in his report along with ongoing maintenance advice.

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As you probably noticed, the main difference between a Building Survey and HomeBuyer Report is that the first one will provide you a more comprehensive report offering a highly detailed review on the condition of your property. 

Now that we have explained what these two main types of residential survey are, is down to your needs as a owner or purchaser to choose the suitable one. 

However, at Trusted Surveyors, we believe that our easy to follow advice and guides will help you to decide. 

HomeBuyer Report is generally better for properties that:

  • were built within the last 50 to 70 years;
  • are built from common building materials;
  • are in a reasonable condition, as far it can be tell;
  • are relatively simple and using a conventional design.

Building Survey is better suited for properties that:

  • are older than 50 to 70 years old;
  • are larger and offer extensive accommodation;
  • have undergone major alteration or extension;
  • you are planning to alter them in the future;
  • are a non-traditional construction.

So, the Homebuyers Survey is it worth it? The answer is YES, but only if the property being surveyed is a conventional house, flat or bungalow, built from common building materials and in reasonable condition. 

If the property is older and is not in a reasonable condition or is built on non-traditional methods than a Building Survey will be a better option. 

Either of the surveys are required, the importance of getting an inspection is vital because can save you a lot of money and time before is too late. Also, having an overall view of the property condition will help you factor in any repairs budget or can even help you getting a renegotiation of the sale price.  

Written by Danil P.
17th Jan 2021 (Last updated on 20th Apr 2023)
4 minute read
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