The homebuyers report is presented in a standard format and covers the general condition of a property being assessed.
The surveyor's main objective is to give a client his professional advice following a general inspection of the accessible parts of the property.
The information contained in the report should help potential buyers make a reasoned and informed judgement on whether to proceed with a purchase or to re-negotiate the price.
Once the report is produced it should be read carefully and any questions should be raised with the agent or vendor as soon as possible.
| || The homebuyers report explained. |
The Homebuyer’s survey report advises only on areas of the property that are visible. Surveyors therefore cannot lift floorboards or knock holes in the wall to check for damp and other problems. The RICS homebuyer report is presented in a standard format and is designed specifically as an economical survey and is a cost-effective way to minimise risk to potential purchasers of a property.
The homebuyer report service therefore covers the general condition of the property and particular features which affect its present value and may affect its future resale. The report focuses on what the surveyor judges to be urgent or significant matters. In negotiations over price, significant matters are those which would need to be discussed before the final amount is agreed.
In summary the homebuyer report service should contain:
| A visual inspection of the property. |
| A concise report based on the inspection. |
| A property valuation. |
The Inspection is a general examination of those parts of the Property which are accessible: in other words visible and readily available for examination from ground and floor levels, without risk of causing damage to the Property or injure the Surveyor. Due care is therefore exercised throughout the Inspection regarding safety, particularly the constraints of being a visitor to the Property (which may be occupied). So, furniture, floor coverings and other contents are not moved or lifted; and no part is forced open to make it accessible.
The services are inspected (except, in the case of flats, for drainage, lifts and security systems), but the Surveyor does not test or access the efficiency of electrical, gas, plumbing, heating or drainage installations, or compliance with current regulations, or the internal condition of any chimney, boiler or any flute. Also the Surveyor does not research the presence (or possible consequences) of contamination by harmful substance. However, if a problem is suspected in any of these areas, advice is given on what action should be taken.
Where necessary, parts of the Inspection are made from adjoining public property. Standard equipment such as as a damp-meter, binoculars and a torch may be used. A ladder is used for hatches and also for flat roofs not more than three meters above ground level. Leisure facilities and non-permanent out buildings (such as pools and timber sheds) are noted but not examined. In the case of flats, exterior surfaces of the building containing the property, as well as its access areas, are examined in order to assess their general condition; roof spaces are inspected if there is a hatch within the flat.
| || The homebuyer report itself. |
The Report provides the Surveyor's opinion of those matters which are urgent or significant and need action or evaluation by the Client before contracts are exchanged. It includes some or all of the following:
For example gas leaks, defective chimney stacks, water leaks etc.The client would be advised to obtain quotations where appropriate.
Significant matters requiring further investigation
For example suspected subsidence or drainage problems for which the client should obtain reports and quotations from suitable contractors.
Significant but not urgent repairs and renewals
For example replacement glazing or a new covering for a flat roof may be highlighted as future priorities. The surveyor may also highlight other considerations or legal matters, for example a possible right of way, which the client should instruct their legal advisers to include in their inquiries.
Matters assessed as not urgent or not significant are outside the scope of the homebuyer report, and are generally not documented. Other matters (such as safety) are reported where the surveyor judges this to be helpful and constructive.
Non accessible areas
If a part or area of the property which is normally examined is found not to be accessible during the inspection, this is reported. If a problem is suspected, advice is given on what action should be taken.
The homebuyer report is in a standard format arranged in the following sequence:
Introduction & Overall Opinion; The Property & Location; The Building; The services & Site; Legal & Other Matters; Summary; Valuation. In the case of Leaseholds, the Report is accompanied by a standard appendix called Leasehold Properties.
The last section of the Report contains the Surveyor's opinion both of the Open Market Value of the Property and of the Reinstatement Cost as defined below.
Open market value
The open market value is "the best price at which the sale of an interest in the property would have been completed unconditionally for cash consideration at the date of valuation". In arriving at the opinion of the open market value, the Surveyor also makes various standard assumptions covering, for example: vacant possession; tenure and other legal considerations; contamination and other hazardous materials; the condition of unexpected parts; the right to use mains services; and the exclusion of curtains, carpets, etc from the valuation. Any additional assumptions will be stated by the surveyor, and further details are normally available on request.
The reinstatement cost is an estimate for insurance purposes of the current cost of rebuilding of the property in its present form, unless otherwise stated. This includes the cost of rebuilding the garage and permanent outbuildings, site clearance and professional fees etc, but excludes VAT (except on fees).
| ||Homebuyer's report - typical cost. |
Typical costs for this type of home survey will be around £450, but costs can vary so it's worth shopping around.