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Home Survey Level 2 vs Level 3 (RICS): what's the difference?

Buying a house and wondering which level of property survey is right for you?

Home Survey Level 2 vs Level 3 (RICS): what’s the difference?

Whether you’re a first-time buyer, a buy-to-let investor, or looking for your forever home, a RICS homebuyer report can bring you peace of mind about your property’s condition and highlight any potential repair costs.

But with several types of property survey available, how do you know which one to go for?

In this article, we’ll explore your homebuyer survey options so you can arrange the most appropriate one for your new property.

What RICS home surveys are available?

Whether you’re buying as an investment to let or purchasing a property to live in, you generally have two types of RICS surveys to choose from. On rare occasions, you may find a Level 1 Survey (Condition Report). However, these are very limited in the information they provide, and few surveyors offer them.

Instead, you’re better off opting for a Level 2 or Level 3 Building survey.

Level 2 (Homebuyer Survey)

A Level Two Homebuyer Report is the most popular RICS survey. Suitable for most properties built within the last 150 years, it highlights urgent matters that require action or might affect whether or not you should continue with your purchase.

Your Level 2 Homebuyer report will look at:

  • The property’s overall condition – internally and externally
  • Any major issues that might affect the property’s value
  • Any urgent areas that will need specialist inspection before you exchange contracts
  • Damp and damp-proofing
  • Any timber damage (such as rot or woodworm)
  • Insulation and drainage condition
  • An estimated re-build cost (for insurance purposes)
  • Legal issues highlighted for the conveyancer

A homebuyer survey may also include a property valuation.

Level 3 (Building or Structural Survey)

Are you purchasing a property that’s over 150 years old? If so, your best bet is to get a Level Three Building Survey – particularly if your new home is Grade II listed. This type of survey is more in-depth than a Level 2. It’s also the best option for unusual properties or those that have undergone significant alterations.

This type of RICS survey will cover:

  • The property’s overall condition in detail, including both major and minor defects
  • An estimated cost of repairs
  • Damp-testing results and the condition of any damp-proofing
  • Any timber damage (such as rot or woodworm)
  • Insulation and drainage condition
  • Advice on any alteration proposals you’ve made

The report will also provide you with information on the property’s location and its construction and materials. Your RICS surveyor will offer recommendations if they believe the property needs further inspections.

Which home survey do I need?

In most cases, a Level 2 Homebuyer Survey is a good option. It’s the most suitable survey for standard properties and will give you a clear idea of what you’re investing in.

However, if you’re looking for details on the property’s structure, you’ll need a Level 3 Building Survey. This is the case if you’re buying a much older property, one with unusual construction, or an extended building that has been extended or altered.

A Building Survey is also beneficial if you have plans to alter the building yourself.

How to book a home survey?

Whichever property survey you go for, it’s essential to make sure you appoint a qualified professional with RICS accreditation.

At Houzecheck, all our surveyors are regulated by the RICS and are local to the areas they cover, so you can be sure you’ll get a reliable and accurate report. So book an RICS surveyor today, or get in touch if you have any questions.

Author: Ian Russell, Director of Surveying