What are the three main types of property survey?

A survey of the property you are buying is essential. Without an expert inspection and report, buyers run the risk of purchasing a property unaware of major issues that will become their responsibility as soon as the purchase has been completed.

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The three main types of property survey offered by RICS surveyors are designed to cover the needs of purchasers whatever type of property they are buying. Each survey is designed to give the buyer the information they need to help them decide whether to go ahead with the purchase. If you are buying a property, information about house surveys will help you to decide which type of survey you may need and how much to budget for the survey report, although your surveyor will advise you and give you the information about house surveys that you need in your particular circumstances.

Property surveys are important because buyers need to be aware of the condition of the property and any significant defects that are likely to diminish the value of the property and/or cause significant expense in terms of repair and maintenance.

RICS condition report

This survey is for new-build properties and relatively modern properties in good condition. It is the most basic survey and will flag up any urgent defects and potential legal issues for your conveyancer to investigate.

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Homebuyer report

This is the middle-level report. It is similar to the condition report but it gives a more comprehensive inspection of the property. In addition to the matters covered in the condition report, it gives the purchaser advice on necessary repairs and maintenance. The survey can also include a valuation for insurance rebuilding costs and a market valuation of the property.

RICS building survey

This is sometimes known as a ‘full survey’. It is the most detailed type of survey and is used for properties that are old, large, in a poor condition, and/or built using non-standard construction methods. Buyers will also need a building survey if they plan to carry out major works to a property. The building survey is the most expensive option because it involves the surveyor carrying out a far more detailed inspection of the property. The surveyor will be at the property for longer and the report prepared will be the most comprehensive of the three main surveys.

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