What Is The Difference Between A Full Building Survey And A Homebuyer Report?

James Peck

James Peck

James has worked the residential property sector since 2005 with roles in Asset Management, Probate, Insurance, Party Wall Matters, Valuation and Building Surveying in both local and national areas having spent several years working within the London area and the Home Counties. James specialises in building surveying with a particular interest in non-traditional construction properties and historic buildings. James has an in-depth knowledge of residential buildings and provides clear and concise advice to clients.

Exploring the different types of property surveys when purchasing a home can be an intimidating prospect – with the terminology alone enough to make any prospective buyer’s head spin! But understanding the differences between the different surveys available can be extremely beneficial to making an informed decision. That’s why it’s important to know exactly what the difference is between a building survey and a homebuyer report?

In this post, we’ll break down the difference between the two types of surveys, summarise the core purpose of each, and explain the pros and cons of each to help you make the right decision before purchasing your property. So read on to understand the key differences between a building survey and a homebuyer report.

Homebuyer Survey

What Is A Full Building Survey?

A building survey, also known as a structural survey or full structural survey, is a detailed inspection carried out by a qualified surveyor to examine the condition and construction of a property. The exact scope of the survey depends on the type and age of the property. The two main types of surveys undertaken are condition reports and homebuyers reports; each with its own requirements and purpose.

The building survey used by professionals in property surveys is much more detailed than the homebuyer report. It evaluates all parts of the property including the roof, windows, doors, internal walls and ceilings. This type of survey can offer extensive details about possible faults which are not highlighted in the Homebuyer Report. Therefore, it is beneficial for more complex properties which require greater inspection. Furthermore, although more expensive than the Homebuyer Report, it gives a more complete view of the property’s current condition and any potential risks that may need to be considered prior to purchase.

On the flip side, it can be argued that the Building Survey is not necessary for most normal transactions as they cost considerably more than regular home buyer inspections and often create unnecessary anxiety for buyers leading to them going into purchase with potential issues that had no bearing on their decision to purchase in the first place. For example, minor foundation cracks may be discovered that will not affect property value or habitability but may significantly influence their decision whether to proceed with buying a house or not. Additionally, constructing a Building Survey requires a lot more time than Homebuyer Reports as detailed information needs to be noted; meaning waiting periods can be longer when waiting for the results.

In conclusion, it is clear that both Building Survey and Homebuyer Report come with their benefits and drawbacks depending on your individual circumstance; however neither should be used solely to make your decision on whether or not you should purchase a house. As each case is unique, it is important to weigh up all other factors before deciding which route is best for you and taking into consideration any advice from experienced surveyors in order to make an informed decision when purchasing your new home. Moving forward this article will delve further into Homebuyer Reports and examine what they entail as well as the advantages and disadvantages associated with this type of inspection.

Key Points to Know

A building survey is a thorough inspection of a property, examining all parts of the structure including the roof, windows and walls. It is more comprehensive than a homebuyer report but is more expensive and may create unnecessary anxiety for buyers which could be avoided by opting for a homebuyer report instead. Ultimately, no single inspection should be relied upon to make the decision to purchase a property and all factors should be taken into account as well as any advice from experienced surveyors.

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What Is A RICS Homebuyer Report?

Moving on from the discussion of a building survey, we now turn our focus to homebuyer report. Just like a building survey, this is typically commissioned by potential purchasers of a property. Although they are both extremely important and must be conducted before buying in order to ensure the safety and quality of the property being bought, there are some very distinct differences between them.

For starters, homebuyer reports are generally cheaper than building surveys as they are not as thorough or detailed in nature. Homebuyer reports provide much less detail than building surveys because they only check certain aspects of the property such as the walls, roof, windows and general condition of the structure. In most cases, they will only be looking at mostly visible factors rather than extensively checking inside walls or spaces for example. As such, it can generally provide a good snap-shot of a property’s current condition but isn’t suitable for properties that may have structural problems or historic buildings that demand more inspection.

Additionally, unlike with a building survey where you’ll usually get comprehensive advice on repairs and maintenance needed on the property from a qualified professional, homebuyer reports don’t go into that much detail when reporting on essential work required by law (such as electrical safety checks). Therefore, it can often leave buyers with little to no information as to how to proceed with repairs and/or replacements needed.

It is important though to note that despite its limited scope in comparison to the building survey, homebuyer reports can still be extremely valuable during the process of purchasing a house or other property – especially if you are working within a budget or are pressed for time in getting your finances over the line for settlement. The sheer brevity of the report doesn’t necessarily mean that you get any less value out of it either; many buyers find home buyer reports sufficient and satisfactory enough given how straightforward it is, in addition to being relatively easy on one’s pocketbook..

Having explored both terms and their various benefits amongst different scenarios, we now move onto further examining exactly what information will be provided in each respective report – carefully detailing areas inspected and checked based on certain criteria.

  • A building survey, also known as a structural survey, is recommended for older properties or those with unusual design features, as it provides the most comprehensive assessment.
  • Contrary to the name, homebuyers surveys are not just for homebuyers. Any owner of an older property may wish to have one to check its condition.
  • According to research from RICS in 2017, nearly half (44%) of British property buyers did not have any type of survey done prior to buying their home.
Homebuyers Survey Roof Report

Information Provided in the Report

When it comes to the information provided in the report, a Homebuyer Report will typically offer more detail on the property than a Building Survey. The former includes standardised sections that summarise the physical condition of its structural elements, as well as details about central services such as drains and electricity supply. It will also advise on any potential legal issues that may be associated with the home, such as restrictive covenants and boundary disputes. Depending on the current market value of the property, a Homebuyer Report will typically include an ‘evaluation’ of its current market worth. This can be seen as particularly helpful for first time buyers who may not have much experience of making property purchases.

On the other hand, Building Surveys are more comprehensive and rigorous inspections of a building, which aims to identify any defect or vulnerability that could potentially cause damage in the future. The surveyor conducting the report draws upon their knowledge and expertise regarding construction principles and industry standards, to provide an accurate appraisal of a property’s condition. Reports tend to include information such as defect-specific commentary, photos and sketch plans of each element inspected (internal walls, ceiling and flooring), as well as comparative statistics from other local properties.

The primary difference between these two reporting methods therefore lies in their level of detail – while Homebuyer Reports are useful for identifying significant defects that require immediate attention, Building Surveys are invaluable when it comes to more detailed condition assessments which take into account both current problems and potential risks. As a result, it is essential that buyers adequately assess their needs prior to making an informed decision regarding which survey type best suits them.

Having said this, neither report should be relied upon solely when it comes to making property decisions. The ensuing section will focus on what these documents do not cover, thus helping potential buyers gain further insight into how best to structure their inquiries before purchase.

What the report Does Not Include

It’s important to remember that these reports are not replacement for any inspections performed as a part of legal conveyance on the property. It’s also important to note that neither a building survey nor a homebuyers report can provide an insurance policy against future works, events or discoveries.

Both types of surveys do not include advice from a chartered surveyor about the suitability or advisability of purchasing the property. They also don’t include any inspection of systems such as gas, electricity and heating, which are checked separately during the legal conveyance process. Building and Homebuyer Reports also don’t contain advice on services or wiring, e.g. for data cabling.

When deciding between a Building or Homebuyer Report, it is worth noting that these reports do not cover all potential issues with a house. Thus, you may have to invest additional money into repairs and renovations once the purchase is complete. However, it is better to be prepared for these eventualities by investing in either survey rather than being caught off guard after taking possession of the property.

By understanding both what is included and taken for granted in Building Survey and Homebuyer Reports, we can now move on to discuss some key differences between them: the scope of their coverage and levels of detail provided in each report type.

Differences Between Surveys and Reports

When looking to buy or sell a property, it is essential to choose the right survey or report. There are important differences between a building survey and a homebuyer report, despite some similarities. It is important to understand these differences clearly in order to make an informed decision regarding the purchase of a new property.

A key difference between the two documents is the amount of information they provide. A building survey will give you an in-depth understanding of the structural state of the building, providing detailed descriptions plus photographs where necessary. It will also look at any visible defects as well as potential hazards such as subsidence, rising damp and weather damage, but it will not provide information regarding shared service pipes, roof timbers or areas which are difficult to access – these would need to be identified in a homebuyer report.

Ultimately, whether you choose to go for the more detailed (and expensive) building survey or opt for the standard homebuyer report is up to you. If you are buying an older property with some visible defects and want to thoroughly know what you are getting into then a good option may be the building survey. On the other hand if you are purchasing a recently constructed property and simply want reassurance that it has been built suitably with few issues then a basic homebuyer report should suffice.

The final decision on which document to select depends upon how much money you have available and your appetite for risk. Either way, if you are looking to buy or sell a property then it is best practise to make sure you have obtained either a building survey or a homebuyer report from an accredited firm as this will help protect your investment and reduce any future uncertainties for all parties involved. Now we can move onto considering the cost of each type of report so that we have all of the facts before making our choice.

Cost of Each Report

The cost of each report will ultimately depend on the size and scope of the property its self. A building survey is likely to be more extensive than a homebuyers report, and as such is generally costlier in nature. For an average-sized modern house, one can expect to pay around £550 for a Homebuyers Report and over £850 for a Building Survey. It should also be noted that many surveyors may offer discounts and fixed fees based on the size or type of property.

With that being said, it is important to note that although a Building Survey costs more than a Homebuyer Report, the extra level of detail within these reports can provide greater insight into the condition of a property compared with that from a Homebuyer Report. Investing in higher quality survey could result in finding defects which upon repair may effectively reduce the overall price of the property. This would make the initial cost to undertake a Building Survey far more cost effective than only having a Homebuyer Report carried out.

Moving forward it is clear that accurate findings are essential when determining the true value of a property. Therefore, it is essential to take into account both the experience and qualifications of professional home inspectors when carrying out either a Building Survey or Homebuyer Report.

Building Surveyors
What is a house Survey
Damp Found from Homebuyers Survey
Moisture Meter Chartered Surveyor

Professional Home Inspectors and Accurate Findings

It is important to understand how professional home inspectors can truly affect the outcome of a building survey and homebuyer report. Accurate findings are dependent on having an inspector’s detailed evaluations and knowledge about a variety of areas within the home. An inspector should be educated in construction materials, building components, and general elements of home systems. Experienced inspectors can more easily detect existing problems or potential problems that may arise in the future.

On one hand, many individuals go with the cheaper option in terms of inspection services, often from unqualified contractors that do not have ample experience deciphering essential details about a property. Thus, choosing an experienced inspector with specialised knowledge can be beneficial because accurate findings will help determine how much money is needed for necessary repairs or modifications and what preventative steps should be considered.

Having said that, there are still benefits to going with an inexpensive inspection service — it might save on costs initially but leave buyers exposed to concealed damage or issues that could turn out to be expensive down the road. Homebuyers should weigh their options carefully and decide what route makes the most sense in terms of trade-off between cost and diagnosis accuracy.

To sum up, professional home inspectors can be the difference between getting comprehensive and accurate reports or finding out about serious problems later down the line due to inaccurate findings. Thankfully, homebuyers have options when it comes to the price point and skill level of professionals who conduct surveys and inspections — nevertheless thoughtful consideration as to which route to take should be made in order to make smarter decisions about one’s purchase. Moving forward, let’s explore how these reports benefit those looking for new homes.

How Do Homebuyers Benefit From These Reports?

With homebuyers now able to access a range of insights from professional home reports, it is clear that these reports offer a range of benefits designed to improve the safety, security and value of a prospective home. The insights provided by both a building survey as well as a homebuyer report can help inform the decisions potential homeowners make and ensure they understand any associated risks.

On one side of the argument, it could be argued that a homebuyer report provides potential homeowners with vital information that can enable them to make an informed decision based upon factual evidence gathered by professional inspectors. This could mean that buyers can avoid hidden issues that may require costly repairs in the future, or uncover issues which were not correctly disclosed by the seller, allowing buyers to potentially negotiate on price. On the other hand, some may argue that relying solely on these reports for making decisions about purchasing a property might actually lead them to overlook safety and security risks which may not be covered. These risks could include pest infestations, mould or asbestos which need to be properly treated by a specialist before they become more serious issues. It is important for homebuyers to do their own due diligence in addition to relying on the findings of these reports in order to gain an accurate assessment of any prospective properties.

In conclusion, while professional building surveys and homebuyer reports offer different levels of insights into property condition and safety, both types of report present a valuable resource for homebuyers when used in conjunction with each other and with additional research and due diligence performed by the buyer. Ultimately, if leveraged correctly this information can enable buyers to make sound investments in properties which are safe and secure for years to come.

Common Questions and Explanations

A homebuyer report includes an inspection of the property as well as detailed information concerning its condition. It will include a summary of defects and potential risks of the property such as damp, dry rot and other structural issues. The report will also provide details on services to the property including drainage, heating systems, insulation, wiring, gas and water supply. Other information that may be included in a homebuyer report are an estimate of repair costs, a valuation and advice on safety hazards. The report is designed to alert potential buyers to any potential problems with the property so they can make an informed decision before committing to purchase it.

A building survey provides a detailed assessment of the condition of a property. It typically includes information on the structure, foundations, roof, walls, ceilings, floors and general decorations. It also includes information about drainage systems, heating systems, electricity installations, plumbing and gas installations. Additionally, it may provide advice on repairs and maintenance that are required or recommended. The report will usually include photos and diagrams illustrating any issues. Finally, some surveys may include an energy efficiency assessment and/or advice on how best to upgrade your home to be more energy efficient.

A building survey is usually more expensive than a homebuyer report. While the cost of both surveys will vary depending on the size of the property and the complexity of the issue, typically a homebuyer report can range from £250 to £600, whereas a basic building survey can range from around £500 to over £1,000.

The extra cost of a building survey reflects its broader scope and greater detail; this type of survey looks in depth at every aspect of a property, many of which are not included in a homebuyer report such as drainage, ventilation and structural issues. By spending more on a thorough survey, potential purchasers can gain peace of mind that their ideal property is in better condition than expected.

Making The Right Choice When Comparing Surveys

Ultimately, it’s your choice which survey you choose. A homebuyer report is suitable for properties that were built within the last one hundred years and have a standard design. They should also be in a reasonable condition and built from standard materials.

However, if you have a home that is older and may even have been built more than a hundred years ago, then a full structural building survey is recommended. You should also consider this option if you need a survey for a home that has undergone extensive changes or has non-traditional construction elements. This will provide you with a more comprehensive assessment and further peace of mind. If you are interested in arranging a level 2 or level 3 survey on a home you are interested in purchasing or selling, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our expert team today. 

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