What's the Difference Between the Two Surveys?

When buying a property it's important not only to get a survey, but to get the right home survey for your new home. Whether you're thinking of getting a HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey, make sure you know exactly what is included in the report.

The survey is designed to check the structure of the building for soundness and identify any repair work that needs to be carried out.  Needless to say, knowing whether the property is in need of repairs can save you a large sum of money – you can negotiate your offer based on the sum that will be needed to carry out any repairs.

A survey carried out by a Chartered Surveyor will provide you with a detailed report which will enable you to negotiate the purchase with confidence and peace of mind.  You should compare quotes for a survey from a range of RICS Chartered Surveyors to choose a service that will best suit your needs which you can do for free using our Property Surveyor Comparison Tool.

However, before you instruct a surveyor, you should definitely know which type of survey you will need, we’ve put together a handy table with details of what’s involved in both types (Homebuyer Report or Building Survey) for you to use when making the decision.


Homebuyer's Report

Building Survey

This is often referred to as a Homebuyers Survey as it replaced the Homebuyer Survey and Valuation (HSV) in 2010.

This is also known as a Full Structural Survey and is a detailed report and analysis of the property’s construction and condition. 

This survey is recommended for conventional modern properties that are in a reasonable condition.  It can also be used for older properties that are in a good state of repair.

This survey is more detailed than a Homebuyer Report and is recommended for large, older or run-down properties or a building that has been altered.  It’s also the best choice if you plan to carry out major alterations on the property.

The survey rates all of the permanent structures in the property, including garages, conservatories, etc.

The survey does not include a valuation but you can arrange for a valuation to be included (usually at an extra cost).

The survey will contain a condition rating for each element of the property all set out in an easy to understand format.

There is no standard format for this type of survey – each surveyor will present this in their own manner.

The survey will include a professional valuation of the property and an insurance reinstatement figure for the property.

The survey will include a description of visible defects and potential problems that may arise from hidden flaws.

The survey will provide advice on long-term maintenance for the property.

The survey will include a list of repair options and the likely consequences of not addressing the problems.

The survey will provide advice on issues that should be investigated to prevent serious damage or dangerous conditions.

The survey will contain advice for your legal advisers on any serious risks and dangerous conditions.

HomeBuyer Reports can take up to 5 working days from inspection to complete. 

The survey will include advice on future maintenance that will be necessary.

The HomeBuyer inspection usually takes 2-3 hours to complete depending on the size of the property.

Building Survey inspections take 3 hours to a full day on-site to complete. The typing of the survey and further environmental searches usually take 5 - 8 working days to complete.   

HomeBuyer Reports cannot be carried out on Grade listed buildings. 

Surveyors will often offer a consultation or discuss the Building Survey with you after completion. 

This is a basic description of what should be included in a HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey. However, we advise that you contact your Property Surveyor with any concerns that you may have so that you definitely know which survey is best for you. 

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