Level 2 Homebuyers Survey
A Homebuyers Survey, also known as the RICS Home Survey Level 2, is an on-site inspection of a residential property with findings recorded in a report. It gives you an overview of the condition of the property and highlights any problems identified.
What is the purpose of the RICS Home Survey Level 2?
The aim of the Level 2 Homebuyers Survey is to provide the advice you need to make an informed decision on whether to go ahead with the purchase of the property. It will give you details of any defects found at the property and an indication of repairs needed. The Homebuyers report is more concise than the Level 3 Survey. It draws your attention to areas of concern and indicates where there is a risk that you might incur costs for repairs.
What is covered in a Level 2 Homebuyers Survey?
The surveyor will inspect the interior and exterior of the property, including any permanent outbuildings. The survey includes all areas which can be accessed, and any limitations, meaning access is not possible, are noted as part of the report.
The following areas will be covered in the inspection and details will be included in the report:
The Oakfield RICS Level 2 Home Survey Report
Condition rating 3 – Red
The property has defects which require urgent attention, some of which may be serious. Repairs will be needed as a matter of priority. Health and safety issues which could present a risk to life will also be awarded a Red rating.
Condition rating 2 – Amber
The property has defects but they are not serious and will not require urgent action. Repairs can be undertaken with regular maintenance of the building.
Condition rating 1 – Green
No defects or issues have been identified at the property.
Looking for a Homebuyers Survey?
We are one of the leading Chartered Surveyors covering London, Beaconsfield Buckinghamshire, Marlow and Oxfordshire and regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
Our team is dedicated to providing the highest quality building surveys.
Contact us to discuss your requirements further.
What is not covered by a Homebuyer Report?
The homebuyer’s report is not an intrusive survey, so the fabric of the building cannot be impacted by the survey. For example, floorboards cannot be lifted, and fitted floor coverings cannot be taken up as part of the inspection.
It does not cover environmental hazards, such as checking for the presence of asbestos in the property. However, if the surveyor suspects that there is an environmental problem with the building, this will be mentioned in the Level 2 Homebuyer report, with a recommendation for further investigations to be carried out.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is not prepared as part of the Homebuyer Survey, but the surveyor will obtain a copy of the most recent EPC and will review it.
A valuation is not provided as standard with a Level 2 Homebuyers Survey, but if you need a valuation, this can be added to your package. You can also choose to add an estimate of reinstatement costs, which you may need to provide to an insurance company when you take out a policy.
What are the next steps for issues identified in the Homebuyers report?
For many defects, the survey will describe the problem and make a recommendation for how and when to address it. Some defects require urgent attention, while for others there may not be any impact if repairs are delayed.
If the surveyor has not been able to explore the defect fully, the report will recommend further investigation, which might include a more intrusive form of inspection.
A Homebuyer report is a good option for modern properties; in general, meaning properties built in the last 50 years. If you are considering buying a house or apartment older than this, we would always recommend that you arrange to have a Building Survey instead. The Building Survey comprises more in-depth assessments and tests and gives you a more comprehensive report. The Level 3 Building Survey is also advisable if the property has an exceptional structure, has been extended significantly, or if unusual materials have been used in its construction.
A valuation is the very basic inspection of a property. It is designed to give an assessment of what the property is worth so that a mortgage provider can decide how much money to lend. A valuation is not designed to give any details of issues or faults and repairs required at the property. It usually comprises a very brief on-site inspection of the property, completed in as little as 20 minutes. In some cases, a surveyor may even carry out the valuation remotely, using data available from a central online register of properties in the neighbourhood. Therefore, a valuation cannot be relied on to identify or provide any details of defects in the building, or offer any assurance that the building is structurally sound.
Many people believe that a survey is not necessary when purchasing a new build property. However, we would recommend that a survey is carried out before you purchase any property, including a new build. Even new build properties can have faults, and it is not always easy to get them resolved by the developer, despite the 10-year NHBC warranty. It is better not to rely solely on the warranty, and instead have the property assessed by a chartered surveyor before you buy.
Once you have found a property you like, you will be keen to get the survey carried out so that you can finalise your decision on buying. The survey itself does not take long. A surveyor will usually spend between one and four hours carrying out a Homebuyer Survey. The surveyor will then prepare the Homebuyer Report for you and you can expect this to be sent to you within a few days. The overall process can take a little longer as the diaries of the surveyor and the vendor will need to be coordinated to agree on a suitable time for the surveyor to visit the property to carry out the inspection.
There are things you can do to avoid delays in the process. Planning ahead is the best way to make sure that things progress smoothly and promptly, so you can have the information you need as quickly as possible for your house purchase decision. If possible, decide on the surveying firm you plan to use when you start your property search. Contact a surveyor as soon as you have an offer accepted to get the process underway.
The cost of Level 2 Homebuyers Surveys varies, depending on factors such as the size, age and construction type of the property. You can expect the Level 2 Homebuyers Survey cost to be from around £500 up to £1500.
You may wish to consider taking out Home Buyers Protection Insurance. This insurance enables you to claim back a portion of the fees you have paid out in the event that your vendor pulls out of the deal. Fees which may be covered include surveyors costs, conveyancing fees and mortgage/lender costs.
There is no legal requirement to have a Homebuyer survey carried out on a property before you buy. However, if you don’t arrange for a survey on the property, you expose yourself to the risk of buying a property which has defects which are not identified until after the purchase has gone through. You could then find yourself facing huge costs to rectify the issues, potentially needing to pay thousands of pounds, depending on the nature of the problem. Structural issues cannot be ignored and will have to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. For example, if there is found to be movement caused by subsidence, repairs such as underpinning foundations could be very costly.
Having a survey conducted on the property means that you are <i>aware of any problems</i> with the property beforehand, with estimated costs to repair, and you can make an informed decision as to whether to go ahead with the purchase. This puts you in a far better position than proceeding without an assessment of the property and potentially having the unpleasant surprise of unforeseen costs once you already own it. You may decide that remedial costs are too high, or that you don’t want the burden of having to arrange for lengthy repairs to be carried out. In this case, you have the option to abandon the purchase and find another property. Alternatively, if you still want to buy the property, you have a strong case for negotiating a lower price, to allow for the money you will have to spend on repairs.
Whether you opt for a Level 2 Homebuyers Survey or a Level 3 Building Survey, it is always advisable to choose a qualified surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The RICS is a globally-recognised body which sets professional standards for the land and property development industry.
Oakfield Chartered Surveyors
Oakfield Chartered Surveyors is an independent firm of RICS surveyors and valuers, with many years of experience. We pride ourselves on our customer-focused approach and will make sure that our services are tailored to your individual needs and circumstances.
We are on hand for you throughout the purchase process and we are very happy to talk you through your survey report and answer any questions if you require further information on the contents of the report. Contact us for more details of the levels of survey we offer, and for pricing information.