What is the difference between a Homebuyer’s Report and a full Building Survey?

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A full Survey is a ‘warts n all’ detailed report about the house you’re buying.

The main difference between a Homebuyer’s Report and a full Building Survey is the level of detail that they go into about the house you are looking to buy.  A full Building Survey will cover things in much more detail, and unsurprisingly it will cost more.

Who prepares a full Building Survey?

A surveyor appointed by you will prepare a full Building Survey.

What is the purpose of a full Building Survey?

The purpose of a full Building Survey is to give you a ‘warts and all’ detailed report on virtually every aspect of the property you are looking to buy.

Who prepares a Homebuyer’s report?

Like a full Survey, a Homebuyers Report is prepared by a surveyor appointed by you.

Who appoints the surveyor for my Homebuyer’s Report?

You do.  The report is for you, requested by you, and for your benefit.  Your contract is with your chosen surveyor.

Does my Solicitor request my Survey or Homebuyer’s Report?

No!  Any type of survey is a contract between you and the surveyor.  It is not requested by your solicitor and is unlikely to form a part of the conveyancing process. You solicitor will not ask to see the survey as it does not form part of the legal process.

What does a Homebuyer’s Report cover?

A homebuyers report will generally be a visual inspection looking at things such as:-

  • walls
  • roof
  • drainage
  • bathrooms

What defects will a Homebuyer’s report pick up on?

The sorts of problems that your homebuyer’s report will pick up on might include:-

  • Japanese Knotweed
  • damp
  • service issues (eg electricity)
  • subsidence

What is most common – Full Survey or Homebuyers Report

Most house buyer’s go for a homebuyers report.

A Homebuyers report is less detailed than a full Survey.

When is a Homebuyers Report most appropriate?

A full survey is always the cautious approach.  The less detailed homebuyer’s report is more typically the survey of choice when the property is newer, and has no obvious or likely defects.

Will a Homebuyers Report include a Valuation?

Not necessarily so you should check this with your chosen surveyor.

Why should I choose a full Building Survey?

A full building survey (the ‘warts and all’ inspection) is always the cautious approach.  However, this is all the more important where (for example):-

  • the property is particularly old
  • there are known issues in the surrounding area (eg subsidence)
  • the property is made of unusual materials

What extra stuff does a full Survey look at?

This is a more thorough inspection (and therefore report).  It will cover things in much more detail.  In particular, it is likely to include guidance of what repairs to issues it highlights might cost.

Which type of Survey should I choose?

Your call, but perhaps be mindful of the following.  What condition is the property in?  How old is it?  Are there things that look like potential issues?  Is it made of unusual materials?  If any of these apply, or common sense tells you, then let caution prevail and go for a full building survey.

When is a Survey or Homebuyers Report done?

Whichever report you choose, it must be done BEFORE exchange of contracts.

Why do I need my Survey before Exchange of Contracts?

You MUST have your survey done before exchange of contracts so that you are fully aware of what you are buying before you are legally bound to complete!  Once contracts are exchanged, you have no choice but to complete.  Buying property is very much ‘buyer beware’!  So you can not back out after exchange of contracts.

How do I choose a Surveyor?

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors can help with this (the professional body for surveyors).

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