Homebuyers report

A Level 2 Homebuyers survey is not as detailed as a Level 3 Full Building Survey, but it still acts as a decent survey for standard properties.

Homebuyers report

It reports on the construction of the property, as well as some commentary on the amenities and transport links in its vicinity. The assessment covers the condition of the building comprehensively, ranging from the roof down to the floorings in an easily understandable Traffic Light System:

  • Condition rating 3 (red) Serious defects requiring repair, replacement or further investigation urgently.
  • Condition rating 2 (amber) Defects that ought to be repaired or replaced, but are not serious or urgent. These are more associated with property maintenance.
  • Condition rating 1 (green) No repairs needed for now.

As with a Full Building Survey, damp testing is carried out using a damp meter to diagnose a faulty roof, defective walls or establish ventilation issues, though not as extensively. It will still provide insight into the quality of damp-proofing, insulation, and drainage visible/accessible during the survey. The condition of timber elements, including windows, fascia, doors, and floors, will be reported on as well.

All urgent issues (labelled in red) requiring specialised attention before contract exchange will be highlighted. These typically involve services such as gas, electrical, and drainage concerns. It is common for Homebuyers report to have some red and amber ratings. Although the cost of repairs are not included, you can commission a separate defect cost report to establish what you should budget for.

Frequently asked questions

Why should I get a building survey?

Buying a property may be one of your biggest financial commitments, but it is easy to overlook the ongoing expenses ties to maintenance and repairs.

If the condition a property is poor, it could become expensive. A report in hand can serve as ammunition in renegotiating the purchase price or in persuading the owner to carry out the repairs themselves prior to exchange.

What is the difference between a Full Building Survey and a Homebuyers report?

A Full Building Survey is classed as level 3, meaning the inspection is more thorough and the report is more comprehensive.

A Homebuyers Report is level 2 and slightly cheaper, but does not cover as much in terms of property condition or searches (e.g. flood risk). It does, however, have a traffic light system, which may be a bit easier to read.

We recommend you do not skimp on the cost of a building survey for the sake of, say, £100 difference, as it is crucial to ascertain as much information about the property condition as possible.

When do I receive the report?

Ordinarily, within a few days of the inspection being arranged (subject to access being arranged by the occupier/agent).

Is the vendor obligated to inform me of property issues?

While the current owner is obligated to be truthful in completing a property questionnaire, statements subject to independent verification should not be solely relied upon. This is why you will often find a section in the report with information for the special attention of your legal advisor.

What legal enquiries should my solicitor make?

Potential legal queries that may arise include uncertainties about ownership of outdoor spaces, rights of access, physical boundaries, off-street parking, documentation related to extensions (both for the subject property and adjoining properties), etc. Other examples of information your solicitor should seek include:

  • previous structural repairs (e.g. underpinning or strengthening), and past/current insurance claims
  • list of improvements carried out (e.g. new bathroom, new kitchen, Velux, energy)
  • structural alterations or additions
  • redecoration or renewal of finishes
  • local authority or statutory approvals
  • age of the property
  • length of occupancy at the property
  • whether the property is Listed or located in a conservation area
  • guarantees or warranties (e.g. for timber or damp treatment, tanking, cavity wall tie replacement, etc.)
  • neighbour or other disputes affecting the property
  • availability of mains services (e.g. details of maintenance/service records, repairs and upgrading, especially for gas and electrical installations)
  • details of private services
  • status of roadways (adopted or private)
  • known rights of way or other rights that may exist over or benefit the property
  • location of any concealed traps and hatches that may provide access to parts of the structure
  • tenure
  • specific details needed as a result of the surveyor following a reasonable trail of enquiry
  • where the property is leasehold, lease term (original and unexpired), details regarding ground rent, service charge, insurance arrangements, responsibility for repairs and maintenance, and identity of the freeholders or superior landlord and the management company
  • ownership of boundaries
  • Party Wall etc. Act 1996 issues
  • where there is private drainage, details on type of drainage and locations of holding tanks, plant and equipment, when and how it is serviced, capacity of holding tanks and frequency of emptying in relation to the number of people in the household
  • whether the property or immediate locality has been affected by flooding, or an invasive species
  • all guarantees (for previous works) and insurances and whether they will transfer with the ownership of the property

What documents should the vendor provide me with?

The documents including, but not limited to, the following should be obtained by you and/or your solicitor prior to exchange, purchase and occupation:

  • Building Regulations Compliance Certificate
  • Gas Safe Certificate
  • Electrical Safety Certificate
  • FENSA Certificate