At Aldrock we are asked to quote for the above surveys on a daily basis and quite often there seems to be confusion about what the client wants. This short blog will hopefully help to explain the differences. The following are extracts from the RICS guidance notes for surveys of residential property:
This level of service consists of a detailed visual inspection of the building, its services and the grounds that is more extensive than level two. The surveyor may inspect concealed areas not normally opened or used by the occupiers (where it is safe and appropriate to do so and the owner/occupier has given permission). Although the services are not tested, they are observed in normal operation – in other words, they are switched on and/or operated.
The report objectively describes the form of construction and materials used for different parts of the property. It describes the condition and provides an assessment of the relative importance of the defects/problems. Additionally, it should:
Where a surveyor feels unable to reach the necessary conclusions with reasonable confidence, they should refer the matter for further investigations. However, at level three such referrals should be the exception rather than the rule. A level three report should aim to provide the client with all the information they need to make a purchase decision.
This level of service will suit any domestic residential property in any condition depending on the competence and experience of the practitioner.”
The report objectively describes the condition of the different elements and provides an assessment of the relative importance of the defects/problems. At this level, although it is concise, the report does include advice about repairs and any ongoing maintenance issues. Where the surveyor is unable to reach a conclusion with reasonable confidence, a recommendation for further investigations may be necessary.
This level of service suits a broader range of conventionally built properties, although the age and type will depend on the knowledge and experience of the surveyor. This level of service is unlikely to suit:
In such cases, a level two service will often result in numerous referrals for further investigations: an outcome that many clients find disappointing.”
Our advice to clients is to opt for one of our customised full building surveys especially if the property is 30 years or older. This can prove to be a very useful negotiating tool prior to purchase. It also reduces the need for further investigation. However a HomeBuyer report can be more suited and more cost effective when looking at a newer property.