What Is A Home Buyer Survey? 

Are you thinking about buying a home? If so, you may wonder what a home buyers survey is and whether or not you need one. A home buyers survey is an essential tool that can help you make an informed decision about a property before you purchase it. A home buyer survey is essential for a range of clients; whether you are buying your very first property, selling your home or buying more property to add to your portfolio, it is a way of ensuring you are investing in a property that is worth the money. 

Our team’s article here at Summerfield And Co will explain a home buyers survey and why you may need one. We’ll also provide some tips on what to look for in a good quality survey. So, if you’re considering purchasing a property, read on to learn more about home buyer surveys! If after you have finished our latest article and find you have questions or queries, be sure to get in touch with our team today; we are always more than happy to help you in any way we can.

Do You Know What A Home Survey Is? 

If you are in a position to buy a property or a home, you are more than likely excited and looking forward to getting the keys to your first property, but there will always be questions popping up along the lines of, is it the right home for you? Does it meet all your criteria? If you have these thoughts, then a home buyers survey is one of the best tools on the market today. 

Whether you are a first-time home buyer, moving home or adding a property to your portfolio, a home buyer survey can give you all the details you need to know about the property, from what type of building materials have been used in the build through to highlighting anything that may cause a problem further down the line in terms of maintenance or lousy building work. 

Through the home buyers survey, you will be able to have a list of any potential issues that may arise in the future; not only that but should it highlight any significant issues, it gives you the chance to either withdraw from the sale or ask for a reduction in the price. On the market today, there is a range of home buyer surveys available, all of which provide different information and advice; you must find the right one for you and your needs. We have highlighted what these are below. 

A home buyer survey is there to help guide and benefit the property buyer; it is essential to have a survey carried out to ensure the property is worth the investment you are making.

Types Of Home Buyers Surveys

Rics Home Survey - Level One

This home buyer survey is the most common and essential of all the available options; using a simple traffic light system, you will receive an easy-to-read overview of the property once the survey has been carried out. The traffic light system will provide you with an easy-to-understand list of any apparent issues, problems they recommend being fixed and any significant issues. 

It is worth noting that this level of home survey does not go into any detail, but this is suitable for someone buying a new, modern building that should be in excellent condition. You can read a copy of Rics report right here; it will give you a glimpse at what your report might look like should you choose to have Ric’s Level one assessment.

Rics Home Survey - Level 2

The mid-level home survey is the standard choice for most property buyers, but it is for homes that are noticeably in a reasonable condition; level two surveys will have all of the items from the level one survey and their features. 

This level of the survey will highlight and reference any issues that will affect the properties value; it will also consist of any recommended repairs or maintenance that should be carried out on the property, this will include damp, subsidence issues and any other aspects that do not meet the current regulations set out by building standards. 

The process this inspection follows is non-invasive; by definition, this survey will only be done at ‘surface level’; nothing will be moved to find issues; by that, we mean furniture and floorboards will all be left untouched. 

Look at an example of a Rics Level two Home Survey right here.

Rics Home Survey - Level 3

If you are looking for a fully comprehensive and in-depth home survey, the level three survey should be your choice; it offers a complete analysis of the internal and external conditions of the property. This survey would be recommended for property buyers looking at buildings over 50 years old, anything that is in a visually lousy condition or even a property that follows an uneven shape. 

The surveyor carrying out this inspection will be completely hands-on; they will look at everything on the property, move furniture, look under floorboards and even go into the loft. Your finished report will list any issues, repairs, recommended maintenance projects, and any defects that will cause significant structural damage. 

Look at the example report for a level three home survey here to see what you can expect.

Do I Need A House Survey?

Buying a property is expensive, and you may be looking at ways to keep costs low or even cut costs. However, we would always recommend having a house buyers survey carried out, even if it does incur an extra cost. But if you spend the little extra money, you will be in a better position to move forward with the house purchase because you will have the necessary information to show the home is safe. 

Through a house buyers survey, you will be able to find out about any significant structural issues and use this information to carry on discussing with the seller, in the long run, maybe even reducing the amount of money you are spending on the property. 

The best example we can give is if you are buying a £100,000 house and find out that it requires around £10,000 worth of work carried out to make the property safe and structurally sound, you can ask for a reduction in price in line with the money that will need spending.

Mortgage Valuations Vs House Surveys

Through the mortgage process, you will automatically have a mortgage lender carry out a valuation on the property you are looking to buy; this is done to ensure the price you are asking to lend is comparable to the price of the property, sometimes you will find the mortgage valuation referred to as a survey, this can be confusing because it is not a home buyers survey, it is a valuation. 

The mortgage valuation is not a complete survey, with some mortgage valuations not even involving a person coming to your property; if you are looking for a property survey, you need to organise this separately, do not rely on the mortgage valuation; it will not highlight any issues that the property may have, and you do not want to find out about these issues further down the line when you have bought the property.

Can A House Fail A Buyer's Survey?

Absolutely! There is a wide range of reasons a property can be given a fail when it comes to a home buyers survey, it does depend on the level of survey you choose, but yes, every property can fail. Whether it is a common issue or something rarer, there is every chance your property may come back with substantial amounts of issues. 

Our team have pulled together some of the most common reasons a home fails a buyer’s survey; 


This is when the soil water content is too high, and the property has visually slipped, affecting the stability of your property; this can, in the long run, be serious. 

Dry Rot

This fungus will infiltrate the wooden beams and timber in your home, again affecting your property’s stability. 


This is a specific type of beetle that can burrow into timber frames and lay larvae; this will cause structural damage. 


Banned back in 1999, asbestos was an immediate failure due to the health implications on humans; sadly, many homes were built using this material. 

Roof Issues

The issues associated with a roof can span from broken tiles to issues with the infrastructure. 

How Long Does A Buyer Survey Take?

A typical home buyers survey will take around two to three hours. However, the time required can vary depending on the property’s size and complexity. It also depends on the survey you choose to have carried out. 

If you choose a level one survey, it may take around one hour to complete, whereas if you take a level two survey, it may take up to four hours to complete; it all depends on the survey and the surveyor. 

All that remains to be done when the house survey is finished is to wait for the report to be prepared. The complexity of the report and the particular surveyor’s schedule will influence when you receive your house survey report. 

Your surveyor should let you know how long it will take to finish the report; however, a level 1 or 2 report shouldn’t take more than five days, and a level 3 report shouldn’t take more than ten days.

Choose Summerfield And Co For Home Buyer Surveys

A home buyers survey is a questionnaire that potential homeowners fill out to provide information about their wants and needs when purchasing a new property. This valuable data can help real estate agents and developers create properties explicitly tailored to the people living in them. 

If you’re in the market for a new home, contact Summerfield And Co today to get started on your own buyer’s survey. We would be happy to help you find the perfect place to call your own. Alternatively, if you have any questions or queries, be sure to reach out to our team; we are always more than happy to help you in any way we can.