What is the difference between a HomeBuyer Report and a Building Survey?
The RICS HomeBuyer Report is defined as a Level 2 survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) whereas the Building Survey is defined as a Level 3 survey. There are different levels of inspection of and reporting expected for each survey i.e. for an RICS HomeBuyer Report you may be expected to check a window on each elevation whereas for Building Survey it will be as many windows as possible. The description and advice will be more in depth in a Building Survey. Both survey types have their place depending on the type of building they are being used for. You may not necessarily gain additional benefit from having a Building Survey where a RICS HomeBuyer Report will suffice. Please see 'Which Survey do I need?' for more information.
What is the process of booking a Survey?
Firstly, you make contact with us and advise us which property you are looking to purchase and would like a survey of. We review the estate agent particulars online and discuss with you which type of survey is appropriate (RICS HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey) and provide a verbal quotation there and then or call you back/e-mail you with a quotation (over e-mail is fine too). If you are happy to proceed, let us know and we will e-mail a letter quotation and our Terms of Engagement which will form a Contract between us. If you have considered this and are happy to proceed, sign the Terms of Engagement and e-mail them back to us (we can forward hardcopies if preferred). We contact the estate agent and book an appointment to inspect the property, collecting keys from them if required. We issue you with an invoice which require you to pay before we release the report or discuss it with you, however we can inspect the property without payment.
Why don't you charge VAT?
This is possible because I am a Chartered Surveyor with low overheads and do not have to charge Value Added Tax (VAT) as I have not met the earnings threshold which at the time of writing is £85,000 in a 12 month period.
Do I need a home survey as well as a mortgage valuation?
A mortgage valuation is a brief inspection of a property to ascertain the value of it and if there are any serious defects that would affect the value. It does not provide any detail of repairs and maintenance needed or identify certain risks. It is for the benefit of the mortgage lender not the purchaser. You may buy the property without being properly informed and find issues at a later date which you hadn't planned for. A survey should better inform you about the property so you can enter the transaction with 'open eyes' and renegotiate the purchase price if it differs from your initial opinion about the property.
Do you do a Structural Survey?
A 'structural survey' is what the 'Building Survey' used to be called. The name changed because it could be confused with a survey carried out by a structural engineer. The Building Survey also provides an overview of the property as a whole rather than just the structural elements.