As the most commonly recommended survey for the purchasing market in the U.K today, the RICS HomeBuyer Survey Report comes across our desks at Property Typing a lot. We know how very important this particular RICS survey is to the building surveyors we assist, as well as to the clients who receive them afterwards. That’s why we’re taking a closer look at this critical report in today’s blog.

Why building surveys are so important for your end clients

There’s a tendency among the end client- the home purchaser- to see the need for any survey at all as just another expensive purchase they have to make for no real reason. That’s why it’s key to help your clients understand why these surveys are so critical to protecting them.

Properties can easily suffer from a host of defects that remain invisible to the uneducated eye. It’s perfectly possible for a home that looks fantastic to be rife with problems. These may merely mean a lifetime of niggly little irritations like rising damp or limited subsidence having knock-on effects on door, windows and plasterwork. It could as easily, however, lead to life-threatening situations like major subsidence and threats to the structural integrity of the building. Conversely, sometimes a crack is just a superficial little imperfection with no threat whatsoever to the building- but it’s essential the end purchaser knows for sure.

This is why governmental policy encourages buyers to have the RICS HomeBuyer Survey Report performed at any purchase of a property in the United Kingdom. The ‘mid-range’ survey of its type, it’s a competitively priced workhorse that delivers more than enough information for most purposes and building types so that the end-buyer can have confidence in their investment. It is also designed in a way so as to make it easy for the layman to consume- so let’s take a look at this class of report in closer detail.

Other RICS surveys

Sitting below the RICS HomeBuyer Survey Report in the survey hierarchy is the ‘RICS Condition Report’. This is the simplest form of RICS survey available at the moment. It takes a brief look at the property in question, mentions any potential legal issues, risks and urgent defects. It’s typically the cheapest form of survey on offer, but it’s also the most limited in scope. It’s only really useful for very new homes, typically constructed and using normal materials, where one is very confident that there are no hidden defects or age/environmental damage, and where a valuation is not considered necessary. While there’s a place for this report in the world of building surveys, most consumers are recommended to take the RICS HomeBuyer Survey Report instead, as the more detailed look at the property it gives will answer more of the client’s questions and provide other reassurances. A valuation can be added to the package if the client requires it.

On the other side, we have the RICS building survey. This is a report a level above the RICS HomeBuyer Survey Report, and for most typical buildings is not considered necessary. It’s the most comprehensive of the three RICS survey types, and you can find out a little more about it here.

Enter the RICS HomeBuyer Survey Report

The RICS HomeBuyer Survey Report is the ‘second tier’ of building survey available in the UK currently. It’s the gold standard for the average property- one designed and built to conventional plans, using conventional materials, which are in a decent state of upkeep. It doesn’t look ‘behind’ the walls or under the floorboards, but gives detailed information on issues like rising damp, subsidence and structural problems. As well as containing all the points mentioned in the RICS Condition Report, the RICS HomeBuyer Survey Report includes advice on defects and how it will affect the property with regard to repairs, as well as maintenance advice for the future.

A valuation can also be added to the package, which should always be undertaken carefully for the client- this can be a powerful bargaining tool for the end client to use against mortgage lenders who have over-valued the property. Likewise, recommendations for repair can also give the future buyer leverage to revise their offer in line with the expected cost of repairs.

How do I correctly structure a RICS HomeBuyer Survey Report?

Survey content aside, there’s a few key parameters that your created RICS HomeBuyer Survey Report must meet. It is critical that your expert opinion is extended in a form that’s easy for the end client, as a layman, to understand. Part of that is done through the presentation of the property’s condition in an easy-to-digest ‘traffic light’ system of green, orange and red.

This may sound restrictive, but don’t worry- the guidance for the layout of the RICS HomeBuyer Survey Report still leaves you a lot of freedom to place your own, unique spin on the document. This will make certain that your brand identity, and unique skills as a building surveyor, can be showcased accordingly.

Still not too sure how to layout your RICS HomeBuyer Survey Report, or looking for ideas and inspiration for the format of your own professional documents? Property typing offers a variety of RICS HomeBuyer Survey Report templates for you to browse and use- all you need to do is get in touch with us, and the answer will be at your fingertips.

The RICS HomeBuyer Survey Report is a critical part of any modern UK-based building surveyor’s toolkit, and the most popular survey of its type for new or prospective homeowners. Let the skilled team at Property Typing help you make the very best of your reports with our fast, efficient and error-free services today.