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The RICS home surveys are designed to be easy to follow. These reports use a traffic light system to alert you to the main issues.

When a surveyor carries out an RICS survey, they assess each element of the property and assign a condition rating to each. These condition ratings are then used by the surveyor to summarise the overall condition of the property and alert you to more severe defects. But what are these condition ratings, and what do they mean?

There are four condition ratings


When an element is given a green rating, it means that there is no repair needed and that the item should be maintained in the normal way. However, you are still advised to read through these sections of the report as they may give valuable information on the construction methods used and how to maintain. This information may come in handy when carrying out home improvements.


When an amber rating is given, it means that there are defects present which should be repaired or replaced, but they are not considered to be either serious or urgent. These items should be maintained in the usual way or replaced/repaired. You should be aware of the potential future problems if these items are not addressed. These things could help you decide whether to buy a property, renegotiate or drop out altogether.

A common misconception with amber ratings is that they don’t need to be addressed, but this is not the case. Your judgement is required to assess whether you want it to be investigated further, replaced or repaired, or whether you can afford the added expense now or in the future.

You should always take note of the surveyor’s advice. They may give you extra information about the element of the property and how to maintain it, in addition to the future problems you might face.


When a red rating is given, it means that defects are severe and need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently. Red ratings should not be ignored and should be taken very seriously. You can use these red ratings as a tool to negotiate the agreed price or to reconsider the purchase. You should also consider getting further investigation into the problems.


The material contained in this article is intended for information purposes only and not as advice. We take no responsibility for the result of any actions you take as a result of reading this information.

You should always obtain the relevant professional advice prior to making investment decisions.

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