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The difference between a Home buyers report and a Building survey

The most common question we are asked when talking to our customers is,

“What is the difference between a home buyers report and a building survey (Level 3)?”

Even with the information available online, it may still be appropriate to speak to one of our team to make a decision about which is best for your circumstances. So to help you, here is some of the information we give to our clients over the phone.

These two reports are designed for different purposes but are both commonly used when purchasing a property. The type you choose depends on a number of things such as the property itself, what you intend to do with the property, and the information you need to know or provide to any third party.

Questions you should consider when choosing a survey include:

All of these questions are what our team would usually ask when helping you to come to a decision. Depending on the answer to these we can usually advise which survey is best. Below is a rundown of what each survey includes.

Home buyers report

The home buyers report is designed to give an overall opinion on the condition of a property. In addition, it will include a valuation and a reinstatement cost figure.

The report will run through the condition of each area and element of the property. It will also give useful information for legal advisors and will point out any visible defects. Defects which are identified will be highlighted and recommended for further investigation. Advice about repairs and ongoing maintenance will be given.

The homebuyers report is built on an easy-to-understand ‘traffic light system’. Each section prompts the surveyor to give a ‘condition rating’ which is red, amber or green. Red ratings mean the surveyor recommends further action. Amber means attention may be required and a green rating shows that everything is ok.

Choose a Homebuyer report if…

Building Survey (Level 3)

A building survey (Level 3) is designed to go into further detail and offer a more in-depth analysis of the condition of the property. These surveys focus on structural integrity and do not include market analyses like valuations and reinstatement costs.

Like the home buyers report this survey will inspect each area and element and give an opinion on its condition. Where this report differs is it will describe the structure of the building and evaluate its condition giving detailed advice on maintenance where appropriate and remedy where defects are identified. Estimated costs for repair are also included in this report if requested.

The Building Survey is also built on an easy-to-read traffic light system but is much more in-depth and informative than the home buyer report. A red rating will require the surveyor to go into further detail and suggest possible courses of action.

Choose a Building survey if…

If you need a valuation figure in addition to a full building survey (Level 3), please ask when making your booking and we can bolt this onto the service at a discounted rate from that of a full valuation report.

Moving forward with a Survey

Surveys are recommended to all property buyers, even if you are confident of its condition. Perfect properties are rare and the official advice from the RICS shows that on average UK house buyers spend £5,750 on repairs once they move into their new home. Not getting a proper survey done is the major cause of this. Getting a survey will highlight issues which may make you reconsider the purchase or put you in a position where you could re-negotiate on cost, saving you thousands.

Make sure you speak to an independent and impartial professional to protect your interests. Remember a mortgage valuation is for the benefit of your lender, and a survey is for your benefit. See the official RICS advice here,

To be sure you are getting the right service appropriate to your circumstances it is always best to call our office where one of our team can advise you correctly. Our Customer advisors are trained by surveyors to give the best advice possible about the services we provide. Call today on 01744 750005.


UK Wide Chartered Surveyors
UK Wide Chartered Surveyors
Cosey Homes offer the full range RICS home surveys from Level 1 - 3 with national coverage provided by our experienced local property surveying team.
DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information only and not intended as advice. Each property has its own set of unique circumstances, all potential issues should be investigated by a surveyor on a case by case basis before making any decision.