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RICS Home Surveys Information Sheet

Homebuyers Survey Fees

Homebuyers Survey Sample

Homebuyers Survey Terms



Why have a Homebuyers Survey?

The Home Buyers Survey Report is suitable for most types of houses, bungalows and flats, which are conventional and traditional, in type, and construction, and which are apparently in reasonable condition.

Even the most modest houses are very expensive and will stretch most people’s budgets. Some defects can reduce the value of a property by many thousands of pounds or make a property virtually unsellable. Some common repairs such as replacing roof coverings or re-wiring properties can be expensive. A Homebuyers Survey will help identify problems which are likely to be expensive to remedy before exchange of contracts.

Purchasing a house or flat without a survey can result in £5000.00 or more of unexpected expenditure. A Homebuyers survey can find such problems and will help you to re-negotiate the purchase price of your property. It is very unusual for our surveyors not be able to identify defectss in all but the most modern properties that will not cost more to remedy than the cost of the Homebuyers Survey.


Homebuyers Surveyors report on a 1904 terrace house at Newark

1904 House FrontSloping floorClogged gutterRoof structureKitchehn window lintel

 On this Newark Homebuyers Survey we encountered severe structural movement causing a considerable slope on the landing floor. The movement also showed up in the fracturing and dropping of brickwork above window openings. The original slate roof had been recovered with much heavier concrete tiles but there had been no attempt to upgrade the roof structure making it vulnerable to failure in the event of heavy snow.  Poor gutter arrangements put the property at risk of water penetration as it has solid walls which will make it cold and prone to condensation.


The Homebuyers Survey Condition Ratings

Our surveyors use the standard RICS report layout. It is designed to outline any serious defects or urgent repairs and consider if they affect the value of the property. The survey report will clearly spell out whether any actions need to be taken before you exchange contracts.

The RICS Homebuyers Survey Report is an easy to read report that will identify defects and advise you on their severity by using an easy to understand, traffic light coding system.

Elements, both inside and out, are given condition ratings based on the traffic light system which is set out below:


 Red  rating

Defects which are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.


 Amber rating

Defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be either serious or urgent. The property must be maintained in the normal way.


Green rating

No repair is currently needed. The property must be maintained in the normal way.

Not inspected rating

Not inspected.


Other matters considered in a Homebuyers Survey

The surveyor also advises about risks to the property or people and matters that you should investigate further before exchange of contracts.

Steve Butler Chartered Surveyors reports include an insurance rebuilding cost to help you sufficiently insure your property and a Market valuation as standard.

The surveyor also advises and matters that your legal advisers should investigate and risks to the property or people.     


Newark Surveyors RICS Home Buyers Survey Report on a 1925 Detached House

 front of 1925 houseBlocked drian chamberGutterHumped floorRender missing from chimney

Newark RICS building surveyors report on a 1925 detached house. The chimneys were in poor condition, tiles were slipping, gutters were clogged and broken. The roof face had dished. Additional timbers had been added to strengthen the roof. The property had long standing movement at the head of an opening to a rear bay window. A timber floor had humped slightly.

How is a Homebuyers Survey different to a mortgage valuation?         

Most people rely on only their mortgage valuation, which is not a survey, but is a property risk assessment aimed for lender use only. Some mortgage valuations are undertaken from the roadside, desk top appraisals or automated computer valuations. These methods can miss numerous or even all defects.

The RICS Homebuyers Survey Report is independent of any survey undertaken by your lender. Our Chartered Surveyors inspect your property to help you identify any significant problems, such as subsidence, damp, lintel failures, movement cracks as well as many other unwelcome hidden issues both internally and externally. We try and look in the roof void and to lift up any drain covers.

The results of relying on a mortgage valuation can be seen in the following notes and photographs

Serious structural failure of a house built in the late 1960's.

Front of 1970's housseDistorted window frameCrack above a windowRear elevationDisplaced drain chamber

The property had been built on a filled in sand pit. The property had moved significantly probably because an escape of water had undermined the foundations on which the property was probably built. For whatever reason the movement was missed in the mortgage valuation and the purchasers had to sell the property to a builder at a £20,000 loss. This is an excellent example of why you should have a RICS Homebuyers survey or Building survey and not reply on a mortgage valuation.

The RICS Homebuyers Survey includes:

 An extensive inspection of the property by a RICS Surveyor

Comments on general condition of the property

Comments on location and significant environmental issues

Identifies significant defects and recommends further investigations

Advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance

Information on location, local environment and the recorded energy efficiency

Highlights health and safety issues

Comments for legal advisors

Helps you to renegotiate purchase price based on defects identified

Provides advice which helps you in your decision-making process

Provides advice which allows you to budget for current and future expenditure

RICS compliant and colour coded system to easily identify the severity of defects

A market valuation so that you know whether or not you are paying the market value for the subject property. This valuation will reflect all the defects found (a mortgage valuation will not).

This Homebuyers survey also includes an insurance rebuild cost of the subject property to help you sufficiently insure your property.


Understanding my Homebuyers Survey

We are always here to offer post-survey customer support by email or by phone. However clients are welcome to meet the surveyor at the property so that issues can be seen and discussed at first hand.


How long does a Homebuyers Survey take to complete.

We can usaully arrange to access the property within two or three days unless the vendor is unavailable. Once at the property the inspection takes as long as needed. Unlikely the corporate surveyors we don't have to rush of to the next inspection to meet profitability targets. We always write the report on the same day as the inspection to ensure that the property is still clear in the surveyors mind. Surveys can usaully be arranged and delivered within a week and often much more quickly.


At what stage should I have Homebuyers Survey

The most appropriate time to commission any property survey is as soon after having your offer accepted or if borrowing money as soon as you receive the formal mortgage offer. There is no point surveying a property that you are not going to be able to get a mortgage on. Once you have your offer accepted and a mortgage offer if needed then an early survey can prevent un-necessary legal costs or an enable an early reduction in the purchase price if required. 


HomeBuyers Surveys by Steve Butler Chartered Surveyors

We employ a quick turnaround on the report (within 5 working days of the Inspection).

We only employ RICS qualified chartered surveyors.

We are a RICS regulated firm, which ensures that we meet the most rigorous of standards set for the Surveying industry.

Our prices are very competitive.

We pride ourselves in offering the highest quality customer service.

We offer straightforward easy to understand advice based on many thirty years of experience.


A summary of the advantages of a Homebuyers Survey

Prepared in an easy to read jargon free standard format designed by the RICS the Homebuyer report aims to help you:

make a reasoned and informed decision on whether to go ahead with buying the property;

make an informed decision on what is a reasonable price to pay for the property;

take account of any repairs or replacements the property needs 

consider what further advice you should take before exchanging contracts; and

determine how much to insure the property for.     


 Defects and other interesting things seen by our surveyors whilst undertaking Homebuyers Surveys in Newark

Chicken tiles

Can you see the chicken image on these tiles? These tiles are a sure sign that the room they are dates from the 1970's. The tiles were extrmely common but our surveyors have only once seen a set where the chicken is consistently the right way up, upside down or sideways for the whole of the room.


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