Homebuyers Report or Structural Survey


1stAssociated can provide help and advice with regard to home buyers reports, structural surveys, estate agents, mortgages, valuations, residential building surveys, commercial building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects reports, damp reports, or any other property matters.

As you can see from this article we use lots of sketches and photos in our reports as the feedback we have from our clients is that the sketches and photos help them understand the reports.

Please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat with one of our surveyors.


What really is the difference between a Homebuyers Report and a Building Survey?

This question comes up time and time again and is asked in many different ways. People ask what's the difference between a homebuyers report and a building survey. What's the difference between a homebuyers report and a full structural survey? Or as the title says a structural survey. All these three different terms that's building survey, structural survey and full structural survey all mean the top end survey. The question is how do these differ from the homebuyers report. If you Google what's the difference between a homebuyers report and a structural survey/building survey/full structural survey you will see all sorts of answers and we feel would be none the wiser. Even on the money saving expert website that we think is very reliable we have seen all sorts of various answers and if you look at the website as a whole there are many, many different answers, some from surveyors and some from non-surveyors. First of all we do need to say that we are writing this as Building Surveyors. This isn't the standard answer you get if you ring up the Royal Institution of Surveyors also known as the RICS which again can cause confusion with some people. We have heard people ring up and ask for an RICS survey. We think the best thing is to ring up and explain what age of property you have got and what you intend to do with it and then the surveyor can best answer the question of what sort of survey do I require? But here specifically relating to a homebuyers report is some further information;


Homebuyers Report

A homebuyers report only reasonable although the RICS otherwise known as the Royal Institution of Surveyors are forever updating the homebuyers report document to improve it. We can't fault them for that. It's the very basis that the clients have to make further enquiries or are referred onto make further enquiries. We have heard comments from clients that the homebuyer's reports are very general and that they don't actually solve the problem but refer you onto someone else.


The problems with Homebuyers Reports

Homebuyer's reports from the point of view of economics are very cheap. They are produced in almost a tick list format to save the surveyor time. They have to be written when a valuer is carrying out several valuations a day and a homebuyers report. We have heard valuers almost sigh when they know they have got a homebuyers report to do as they are not as profitable as carrying out valuation reports as they are not a quick.

Biggest disappointment with a Homebuyers Report

One of the biggest disappointments people have with homebuyers reports is they refer you onto other specialists and generally don't tend to have the cost of the problems. In fact we have said generally homebuyer reports don't tend to have costs. We would say that they never have costs with regards to the problems that are found. Homebuyer's reports don't list the very basis of the information you need to understand. Not just what the problem is but how much it could cost you.

For example in the homebuyers report if dampness is found the homebuyers report doesn't normally say exactly where and it doesn't normally say how to resolve it other than to refer you to a damp proof specialist.

Please read our articles listed below on damp proof companies and damp proof specialists because they shouldn't be as specialist as the surveyor you have just employed.


Damp Proof Specialists, Talk to us First

Damp Surveying to a Different Standard

Dampness Defects Report


At the end of this article there are lots of other recommendations to damp proof articles we have written. We really didn't realise that we had written so many damp proof articles but that is another problem and query area that people always ring us up on so we have written the articles to help people.


Homebuyers Surveys and National Surveying Companies

Having worked in large national surveying companies there tends to be a lot more valuers available than building surveyors. The ratio in one company we worked in and its one of the largest surveyor practices in the world was almost 100 general practice valuation surveyors to one building surveyor and that's why people tend to get talked into and persuaded into having a homebuyers report rather than a building surveyors because these big companies have lots of valuation surveyors they need to keep busy. We are sure that surveying companies wouldn't admit to this and indeed the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors RICS would be very unhappy if this was known. This is what we found when we worked for large surveying practices. This is only our opinion from what we have seen working in surveying practices for a long time.


Building Surveys and Structural Surveys and Full Structural Surveys what are they?


Firstly we need to say that many surveyors who are valuations surveyors otherwise known as general practice surveyors won't carry out building surveys or structural surveys simply because they don't feel they have the knowledge to carry them out or will only carry them out if the economic climate forces them to.


Surveyors that are happy to carry out Homebuyers Reports but not Structural Surveys

Most surveyors are however happy to carry out homebuyers reports on the same property because they know the report is limited and caveated. You need to be looking at what you want when you are buying a property, not what the surveyor wants and we must remind you if you haven't forgotten that buying a house is an expensive thing. Houses are generally very expensive and we are sure you have read on other websites or been told by the estate agent that they are the most expensive purchase that we make and after all the building survey cost is only a very small percentage of what you are spending on the buildings. Whilst most buildings that we survey don't have major unsolvable problems you don't want to be in the small percentage that does and we would add and we are sure you have read this elsewhere that the building survey is a percentage of the amount of money that you are paying for the property and don't forget you will be paying interest on that to. It really is a false economy not to have a building survey. We would emphasise that we would always recommend you meet the building surveyor at the property. It really is important if you are buying a new house and as in most cases of people buying a new house you won't really have looked at it for that long so it's well worth meeting the surveyor and having another look at the house.


So should I have a Homebuyers Report or a Building Survey?

We would say if the property is old have a building survey. If the property has been amended or altered have a building survey. If you wish to carry out alterations, amendments or redesigning of the property have a building survey. If you wish to meet the surveyor at the property have a building survey. If you wish to know how much problems are likely to cost to solve have a building survey. If you wish to know ways of solving the problems have a building survey. You do need to make sure that the surveyor is experienced in looking at the sort of property that you want them to look at. That they regularly carry out building surveys. We would always ask them to send an example copy of a similar building survey that they have carried out on that type of construction or building. One comment that we think is very prudent on money saving expert is it's the quality of the surveyor that you have carrying out the survey that is ever so important so have a look at some of their old surveys and don't be talked into having a cheaper option of a home buyers report.


Here are a few examples of our surveys:


Example of a Building Survey carried out in Stevenage, Hertfordshire

Commercial Schedule of Condition of a Hall in Welwyn Garden City


Example of a Residential Building Survey of a Grade II* Listed Property in Linton, Cambridgeshire

Residential Survey of a 1950's/1960s Semi Detached Property in Ely

Residential Property Survey of a detached Victorian Property in Sidcup, Kent

Building Report of a property in Sittingbourne


Ask your surveyor to show you what their surveys look like.


Here are some more articles on dampness that may help you:


Do you need a Damp Proof Course in an older property?

Damp Proof Courses what are these for?

Damp Meters



Independent Surveyors

If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a surveyor with regard to valuations, mortgages, mortgage companies, surveys, building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports/specific defects report, structural surveys, home buyers reports or any other property matters please contact 0800 298 5424 for a surveyor to give you a call back.


Commercial Property

If you have a commercial property, whether it is freehold or leasehold then sooner or later you may get involved with dilapidation claims. You may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at www.DilapsHelp.com and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site www.DisputesHelp.com .

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

The contents of the web site are for general information only and are not intended to be relied upon for specific or general decisions. Appropriate independent professional advice should be paid for before making such a decision.

All rights are reserved the contents of the web site is not to be reproduced or transmitted in any form in whole or part without the express written permission of www.1stAssociated.co.uk


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