Which home survey do I need?

Do I need a pre-purchase survey?

Commissioning a property survey before you exchange contracts is a sensible precaution that can save you thousands in repairs. The expert eye of a trained surveyor is able to spot signs of trouble that the layman simple wouldn’t recognise. From roof defects to structural movement, damp and timber decay, ageing plumbing and electrics, a home survey can help you protect what could well be the biggest investment of your life.

Squarepoint Surveyors are experienced professionals when it comes to building surveys and investigations. As members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), we are able to offer all three levels of RICS home survey and are always happy to discuss which of these would suit you best:

RICS Condition Survey – Level 1

A Condition Survey is the most basic type of home survey, delivering a brief, easy-to-use description of the property. The report provides an overview of the building, using a handy traffic light system to either reassure that everything is in good order or indicate areas of concern where further investigation is needed.

What is included in a Level 1 Condition Report?

We will carry out a brief property inspection of the visible interior and exterior elements, permanent outbuildings and boundary structures, and compile our findings into a report that describes the ‘as is’ condition. Any serious concerns will be highlighted to enable you to address them appropriately. We will also point out any legal aspects, e.g. planning and building control issues or access rights, for further investigation by your conveyancer.

When to choose a Level 1 Condition Report?

This type of survey is typically only recommended for new or nearly new homes that have been built using conventional materials and methods of construction. The property must be in good condition and have an easily accessible maintenance history. Buildings that are older than 5 years, have known defects or are of non-standard construction are not suitable for this type of survey.

RICS HomeBuyer Report – Level 2

The RICS HomeBuyer Report is a mid-range survey that is suitable for most modern residential properties in the UK. It is the most popular choice of survey among homebuyers, designed to provide all the salient facts needed to make an informed purchase decision.

What is included in a Level 2 HomeBuyer Report?

The HomeBuyer Report is more detailed than a Condition Report but not as in-depth as a Building Survey. A visual inspection of the property inside and out will form the basis for reporting in a standardised, jargon-free, user-friendly format. This typically includes damp and timber decay, evidence of structural movement, utility services and other apparent defects.

The survey report will also provide advice on any remedial action and estimates for any repairs and ongoing maintenance. Furthermore, we will recommend for further investigation any specific items where we are unable to reach a conclusion with reasonable confidence.

RICS HomeBuyer Reports can be provided with a market valuation and an insurance reinstatement figure, as well as a list of items that the surveyor considers may affect the property value.

When to choose a Level 2 HomeBuyer Report?

The HomeBuyer Report is the most popular choice among buyers of conventional properties that are in reasonable condition. It is suitable for modern homes constructed less than 50 years ago. If you are considering the purchase of an older property or period home, a ‘fixer upper’, non-standard structure or a building with complex surveying needs, the level of detail provided by a HomeBuyer Report is likely not sufficient.

RICS Building Survey – Level 3

Formerly known as a full structural survey, a Building Survey is the most comprehensive inspection and report available. A Building Survey will give you a wealth of information about identified major and minor defects and other issues, and includes cost estimates for repair, maintenance advice and recommendations for further investigations.

What is included in a Level 3 Building Survey?

The RICS Building Survey includes everything you would get from a RICS HomeBuyer Report and more. The inspection will cover all visible and accessible parts of the building including the roof, chimneys, wall, floor, windows, doors, cellars, garages and outbuildings. They will also look into cupboards and manholes and assess the condition of the services.

The surveyor will not investigate closed or concealed parts of the building, such as sealed roof spaces but they will describe any identifiable risks and causes of potential or hidden areas that aren’t inspected.

The report will outline the likely scope and urgency of any recommended remedial work and explain the possible consequences of non-repair. Budget estimates will also be included.

When to choose a Level 3 Building Survey?

Building Surveys are very thorough investigations that are suitable for all properties. They are the only recommended option for older properties, period homes and listed buildings which require detailed inspections and reporting. They are also the best choice for buildings of non-standard construction and those that require, or have undergone, major alterations or renovations. If you are planning major renovations or refurbishments, or any concerns about elements of the property, a Level 3 Survey is the right tool to provide the insights you are looking for.

How much do house surveys cost?

The cost of your home survey will generally depend on two key factors: the property in question (its type, size and value) and your choice of survey. Different levels of detail are provided by our RICS Home Surveys.

As a general guide, a RICS Condition Surveys will cost from £300 upwards, a RICS HomeBuyer Report starts at around £400 and a full RICS Building Survey can cost from £600 upwards. Please contact Squarepoint Surveyors to obtain a quotation.

How to arrange a house survey

The consequences of ‘buying blind’ without getting a home survey can be very costly indeed. At Squarepoint Surveyors, we would always recommend that you obtain an impartial, in-depth opinion to inform your property purchase.

Home buyers typically arrange to have the survey done shortly after their offer has been accepted by the seller and, in any event, before contracts are exchanged. Generally, it is the buyer who commissions and pays for the survey.

To get the process started, all you need to do is to get in touch with our expert team for advice about the right survey for your next property purchase. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Really helpful team at Squarepoint, on hand to help with any queries and take you through the whole process clearly and at a pace guided by you. Our party wall surveyor, Adam, was great at communicating and efficient throughout  the whole process, could not ask for more.

I had been hunting for a simple job that required a surveyor’s expertise, but had been struggling to find trust throughout my enquiries, until I spoke to Adam.

The advice simply and honestly given by Adam on our first call was remarkable. His friendly but competent application and manner made it easy for me to hire him, and not only did he more than deliver on the required services, but his price was the most competitive I could find. Would highly recommend Eve and Adam at Squarepoint.”


I recently hired Adam to help with a party wall award required on both sides of my terraced house.

He was able to liaise with both parties to answer their initial questions/concerns, which led to them both appointing him as the agreed surveyor, which saved me time and money.

Adam prepared the final award comprehensively and quickly. I would thoroughly recommend him and his friendly Admin assistant Eve.

From the very first time I called Scott, he was very attentive to my requirements for a building survey. From the outset he noted down my areas of concern, updated me with progress prior to the survey and gave me a thorough debrief after the survey. The quality of his report was excellent, very easy to understand and, importantly, comprehensive.

I was extremely pleased with the excellent service provided by Scott Buchanan of Squarepoint Chartered Surveyors, and  I hope to contact yourselves in due course with a view to getting further advice.

Working with Adam Graham at Squarepoint was a very smooth and easy process. He was always clear and thorough in our communication and provided very detailed advice. I would highly recommend Squarepoint!”

The team at Squarepoint were very helpful, knowledgeable and understanding when dealing with my loft conversion and party wall agreement.”

We have used Squarepoint Chartered Surveyors at several of our Parishes and have found them to be very efficient in the production of reports on a variety of issues such as building condition surveys and PPM, defect investigations and Party Wall matters.”

Young, trustworthy, professionally competent and committed to delivering on time and on budget.”

Fast and friendly service with an extremely thorough survey. The Surveyor’s phone call to explain the findings of the report, before the official survey was sent, was invaluable.

I used Squarepoint for a party wall agreement. From my initial conversation with Eve through to Adam completing the party wall award, the process was smooth, professional and timely given the challenges of COVID lockdown. Thank you for your great service.