RICS HomeBuyer Report FAQs

As the most popular type of property survey in the UK, we get a lot of questions about the RICS HomeBuyer Report. Here are some of the answers to the most frequently asked queries.

Do I need a survey even if I have had a Mortgage Valuation?

Yes. Arranging a professional survey to be carried out on your behalf will ensure that you know about any problems with the property before you commit to buying it.

Even though buyers are usually charged for them, Mortgage Valuations are carried out for the benefit of the lender. Their purpose is to confirm that the property is appropriate collateral for the loan so that, should the borrower fail to make repayments, the bank can recoup their losses by repossessing the property and selling it. The valuer will not be searching for defects and is under no obligation to report back to you with their findings.

What are the benefits of having a survey?

A survey is the only way to understand what’s hidden beneath the surface of a property. Even if the building appears to be in a reasonable condition, significant structural defects like damp, subsidence and timber decay are not always apparent to the untrained eye and can prove very expensive to rectify once you have taken ownership.

Having a professional surveyor search for defects and detail their findings in a report will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the property and any repair work that it requires. This gives you a realistic view of the additional time and money you will need to spend on making the building safe and comfortable, so you can make an informed decision about whether you are prepared to proceed with the sale.

How do I know if a HomeBuyer Report is the right choice?

HomeBuyer Reports offer a fair level of insight into a property but are not as thorough as a Building Survey. There are no fixed rules about when one is more appropriate than the other and we tend to take each property on a case by case basis. However, if the house, bungalow or apartment you are looking at meets the following criteria then a HomeBuyer Report should be sufficiently detailed. The property should be:

• Less than 80 years old,
• Constructed using conventional materials and techniques,
• Not significantly altered (e.g. multiple conversions or extensions),
• In apparently good condition, with no noticeable defects.

What does a HomeBuyer Report include?

To prepare a HomeBuyer Report, the surveyor will attend the property and check all accessible internal and external features. The surveyor will make a reasonable effort to conduct a surface-level investigation, for example, opening the loft hatch to assess the roof space, without actually entering the loft itself. The survey is non-intrusive, meaning that furniture and décor won’t be moved and samples won’t be taken, but the surveyor will recommend further investigation of inaccessible areas that they suspect may contain defects.

The report will be a concise, easy to follow document that lists any defects the surveyor finds, using a traffic light system to prioritise the most urgent. In addition to a summary of the condition of each feature, you can expect some basic information about ongoing maintenance to prevent further damage.

Do the vendors have to reduce the price if the survey finds problems?

Some buyers use their property reports to re-negotiate the sale price, usually suggesting a discount that is equal to the expected repair costs. Not all vendors will be willing to renegotiate however, and they are under no obligation to do so.

If the seller is not prepared to reduce their asking price in the light of major or minor defects being identified, it is up to the buyer to decide how they wish to proceed. In some cases, they might choose to accept the cost of remedial work themselves, while others prefer to walk away from the sale and find a home that better fits their needs.

If you want to discuss the best survey option for a particular property, or if we can provide more information about any of our services, please get in touch. You can call our team directly on 0845 8622275 or send us a message using the form on our contact page and we will call you back.ale and find a home that better fits their needs.