In a previous blog (https://www.thehoppspartnership.co.uk/blog/what-is-a-building-survey) we introduced building surveys generally and looked at the three levels on offer. In this blog we will look more closely at the HomeBuyers Report.
What is a HomeBuyers Report?
The RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) identify three levels of service when surveying residential property; levels 1, 2 and 3. Level 1 is the most basic offering and includes a visual inspection and comments on defects and legal issues, but not on repairs and maintenance. Level 2 includes a visual inspection with some testing of the building fabric and will offer comments on defects and legal issues as well as a concise comment on repairs and maintenance. Finally level 3 is all of the above but is more extensive and will offer comments on repairs and maintenance, their urgency and how to undertake the repairs. These surveys offer surveyors and clients guidance on what information a survey should contain however the levels do not offer guidance on what format the report should take. Therefore the RICS have developed a format of their own that only a Chartered Surveyor may offer:
A level 1 survey using the RICS standard format is called a Home Condition Report. A level 2 survey using the RICS standard format is called a HomeBuyers Report. A level 3 survey using the RICS standard format is called a Building Survey. Therefore the HomeBuyers Report should contain all the information a level 2 survey will but will utilise the RICS format. A HomeBuyers Report can have a valuation or not dependant on the clients requirements and the ability of the surveyor to provide this service.
What is a HomeBuyer Report Format?
The report will have the following contents:
A: Introduction to the report
B: About the inspection
C: Overall opinion about the property
D: About the property
E: Outside the property
F: Inside the property
H: Grounds (including shared areas for flats)
I: Issues for your legal advisers
J: Risks K: Valuation (dependant on the service)
L: Surveyors declaration
The start of the report will comment on the nature of the property, its construction and extensions or conversions. The survey then goes on to objectively describe the outside portions of the property from the chimney down to the roof, the walls, windows, outside doors and conservatories/porches. Against each item will be a traffic light allocation dependant on its condition, as per the below image
The report then moves internally, commenting from top down on the roof structure, ceilings, walls, floors, chimneys, fittings etc. Again, traffic light symbols are allocated in each case. It should be noted that none of the levels of survey will test appliances such as fridges and washing machines, for this you will need to obtain the services of a specialist engineer. We will however check that the kitchen cupboards are working, the doors are opening correctly and that there is no rot or damp in the timbers/walls.
The report then looks at the services such as the gas and electricity and aims to identify any problems that are apparent. It is worth noting that the services are witnessed in normal operation but we are not specialists and therefore if the electrical system looks in anyway old or underspecified, we will recommend that it is tested by an electrician. The outside areas are then looked at again such as the garages, boundaries and grounds/gardens and ay problems identified. For example there may be instances where large trees are growing nearby and may affect the structure of the property or the boundary fences may be incorrectly located.
The end of the report identifies legal issues such as planning matters or boundary issues that will need to be checked by your lawyer and finally, risks to the building grounds and people are identified and summarised.
We ensure that the report is written in an easy to understand manner and we are always available to speak after the report in case you don’t understand anything. In this way we aim to help you make the right choice when buying your property and to fully understand the implications any defects that are present.