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HomeBuyers report or Building Survey?

Not all Building Surveys are equal – which one is right for you?

Building SurveyingWhether you’re a first time buyer, considering extension and refurbishment works, or looking to sell up and climb the property ladder, these decisions are some of the most expensive you can make so it pays to be reassured you’re making the right one. A Building Survey can give you confidence you’re making a sound investment in each scenario but what kind of survey is right for you?

Building surveys provide a professional report on the condition of a property at a given point in time but not all Building Surveys are equal. Choosing the right one for you will depend on the reason for the survey, the age, and condition of the property in question.

Chartered Building Surveyors are qualified to report on the structure and condition of property. They can be instructed to conduct a building survey pre-purchase, prior to tenants taking leases or before building works are carried out, and can report on condition or specific areas of concern at any time throughout the life span of a property.

Tip: Did you know if you are buying a flat you still need a building survey?


Three types of building survey

Here is an overview of a condition report, homebuyers report and a building survey; the three main types of survey available for commercial and residential buildings:


1.) Condition report

An objective overview of the condition of a property that highlights areas of major concern but doesn’t go into detail regarding any issues found. Shows the condition of the property, offers guidance to legal advisors and highlights any urgent defects. Typically the lowest priced of the surveys

Animated image of new build

Condition reports: Most suited to: new and conventional builds in overall good condition.

2.) Homebuyers report

Includes all the features of the RICS Condition Report, plus a market valuation and insurance rebuild valuation. It also includes advice on defects that may affect the value of the property (RICS)

Consider this: Often cheaper than a full building survey but this can be false economy as the report doesn’t necessarily go into detail on how to remedy any defects found meaning you get a list of problems without solutions.

Homebuyers reports: Most suited to: new and conventional property

Homebuyers reports: Most suited to: new and conventional property


3.) Building Survey

The most comprehensive report as described by the RICS which provides you with an in-depth analysis of the property’s condition and includes advice on defects, repairs and maintenance options. Can offer visibility into unexpected repair and maintenance costs that may exist in the not too distant future.

Consider this: Although the most expensive, the peace of mind provided from this detailed report far outweighs any savings in comparison to a homebuyers report when considering the cost of the overall investment into planned works or purchase costs.

Building surveys: Most suited to: every type of property, but essential for older, listed and large properties plus those with extensive alterations and prior to major works taking place.

Building surveys: Most suited to: every type of property, but essential for older, listed and large properties plus those with extensive alterations and prior to major works taking place.


Summary of what’s included

Below is an overview of what considerations are generally included for each of the surveys mentioned above:

  Condition Report Homebuyers report Building Survey
Construction and condition of the property X X X
Identify urgent problems X X X
Identify what may need further investigation to prevent damage X X X
Identify dangerous problems X X X
Show potential issues or defects prior to purchase X X X
Advises on further advice that may be required before committing to purchase X X
Highlights repairs in order for you to budget X X
Outlines any repair costs that may occur in the future X X
Reinstatement cost evaluation X
Market valuation X
Establish how the property is built, what materials were used and how these will perform in the future X
Describe visible defects, and exposing any future defects that may occur X
Outline repair options, timeline and the consequences of not undertaking work. X
Estimate of costs for identified repairs X
Comments on energy efficiency ratings X

View our surveying FAQs to find out:

  • What should I tell my surveyor when requesting a building survey?
  • Turnaround times for full structural surveys
  • What to look out for when viewing a property
  • Why a valuation is not a building survey and vice versa
  • Why we don’t carry out Homebuyers surveys

If you have any further questions please email our team on or call us on 01628 771221.

Kempton Carr Croft is regulated by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) meaning that all our surveyors are required to adhere to strict professional standards and undertake continuous professional development.  We have been operating throughout London and the Thames Valley since 1986 and have excellent local market knowledge throughout this region.

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