RICS Home Surveys

Buying a property

Helping you choose the right survey

There are a few reasons why you might need an RICS survey. Choosing the right survey will help highlight any serious problems and advise you of the specific risks before you commit to the process of buying or selling a property.

RICS has three different levels of survey. These can only be conducted by an RICS qualified surveyor. Reliable and cost effective, these reports carry the full weight of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – the industry’s most respected authority on surveying.


Buying a home

It’s important to remember that your mortgage lender’s valuation report is not a survey. It merely tells your lender whether or not the property is reasonable security for your loan.

An RICS survey will tell you the actual condition of the property. That’s vital information that can be invaluable during price negotiations, and will also help you avoid expensive surprises after you’ve moved in.

There is an option for an RICS HomeBuyer Report (survey level 2) which also includes a valuation as a standard part of the service for your own purposes. Please discuss this with Elite Surveyors Limited prior to the survey.

Selling a home

An RICS survey can be an aid to selling your home. It will show you any problems that may delay your sale or cause price reductions later in the process.

Staying at home

A survey of the current condition of your home will warn you of defects and help you avoid escalating repair and maintenance costs in the future.


Choosing the right RICS Survey

The below information, about the types of survey available, may help you choose which survey most suits your needs, but please do let us know if you are not sure. Elite Surveyors Limited can help if you need to discuss your options with us before you decide.

The RICS Condition Report – survey level one

Choose this report if you’re buying or selling a conventional house, flat or bungalow built from common building materials and in reasonable condition. It focuses purely on the condition of the property by setting out the following:

  • clear ‘traffic light’ ratings of the condition of different parts of the building, services, garage and outbuildings, showing problems that may require varying degrees of attention;
  • a summary of the risks to the condition of the building; and
  • advice on replacement parts guarantees, planning and control matters for your legal advisers.

The RICS Condition Report is straightforward and does not include a valuation, but we will be able to provide this as a separate extra service and can be agreed prior to the survey with Elite Surveyors Limited.

The RICS HomeBuyer Report (Survey) – survey level two

Choose this report if you need more extensive information whilst buying or selling a conventional house, flat or bungalow, built from common building materials and in reasonable condition. It costs more than the Condition Report but includes:

  • all of the features in the Condition Report;
  • a list of problems that the surveyor considers may affect the property;
  • advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance;
  • issues that need to be investigated to prevent serious damage or dangerous conditions; • legal issues that need to be addressed before completing your purchase; and
  • information on location, local environment and the recorded energy efficiency (where available).

The RICS HomeBuyer Report (Survey & Valuation) – survey level two

As the RICS HomeBuyer Report (Survey) above but includes:

  • the surveyor’s professional opinion on the ‘market value’ of the property;
  • an insurance reinstatement figure for the property;
  • a list of problems that the surveyor considers may affect the value of the property;

The RICS Building Survey – survey level three

Choose the Building Survey (formerly called a structural survey) if you’re dealing with a large, older or run-down property, a building that is unusual or altered, or if you’re planning major works. It costs more than the other RICS reports because it gives detailed information about the structure and fabric of the property.

The RICS Building Survey uses the same traffic light ratings as the Condition and HomeBuyer Reports.

It also includes:

  • a more thorough inspection and detailed report on a wider range of issues;
  • a description of visible defects and potential problems caused by hidden flaws;
  • an outline of repair options and the likely consequences of inactivity; and
  • advice for your legal advisers and details of serious risks and dangerous conditions.

The RICS Building Survey does not include a valuation, but we will be able to provide this as a separate extra service and can be agreed prior to the survey with Elite Surveyors Limited.


RICS at-a-glance survey comparisons

This table will help you choose the most appropriate survey, but if you have any particular requirements,
remember to discuss them with Elite Surveyors Limited before we inspect the property. Our surveyor may be able
to provide you with extra services, under separate contracts.

Service FeatureSurvey Level 1
RICS Condition
Report Service
Survey Level 2
Report (Survey)
Survey Level 2
RICS Homebuyer
Report (Survey &
Survey Level 3
RICS Building
Survey service
Describes the construction and
condition of the property on the date of
the inspection
Aims to identify any problems that need
urgent attention or are serious
Aims to identify things that need to be
investigated further to prevent serious
Aims to tell you about problems that
may be dangerous
Aims to show up potential issues and
defects, before any transaction takes
Aims to help you decide whether you
need extra advice before committing to
Aims to enable you to budget for any
repairs or restoration
Aims to advise you on the amount of
ongoing maintenance required in the
Provides a reinstatement cost to help
you avoid under or over-insurance
Provides a market valuation
Aims to establish how the property is
built, what materials are used and how
these will perform in the future
Aims to describe visible defects, plus
exposing potential problems posed by
hidden defects
Aims to outline the repair options and
give you a repair timeline, whilst
explaining the consequences of not
Where practical and agreed, provides an
estimate of costs for identified repairs
Provides specific comments on energy

Source: rics.org/homesurveys