If you’re buying a property, you may be wondering what the difference between a homebuyers report and a structural survey is.
It’s a good question. Both types of survey are carried out by chartered surveyors and both will tell you important details about a property.
However, one is designed to give you a general overview of everything, including some cosmetic matters. The other is design to focus on the structural integrity of the building.
To help you understand what the difference between homebuyers report and a structural survey actually is, let’s take a look at each type of survey in turn…
What Is A Homebuyers Report?
In the UK, a homebuyers report is a RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) survey which provides general information about the condition of a property.
It is often colour-coded and presented in an easy-to-read and understand manner.
It is a non-invasive survey, meaning the surveyor will not pull up floorboards, drill into walls, or move heavy furniture.
What is Included In A Homebuyers Report?
A homebuyers report will look at multiple factors that affect the condition of your property.
Most commonly, it will highlight potential issues with:
In short, the surveyor will look all around the property, inside and out, and note the general condition along with any recommendations for repairs that may be needed.
A homebuyers survey is, therefore, recommended for properties that are thought to be in a reasonable condition but may need some level of maintenance or repair.
How Much Does A Homebuyers Report Cost?
Although it depends on a number of factors (such as your location and the size of the property) a typical homebuyers report costs around £400-£500.
If you need help deciding which surveyor is best for you, we’ve also published an article on how to choose a chartered surveyor.
How Long Does It Take To Get The Results Of A Homebuyers Report?
Exactly how long it takes to get the results of a Homebuyers report will depend on a few different factors, including:
- How quickly access to the property can be arranged
- How busy your chosen surveyor is
- Whether your surveyor will send you an electronic or a physical copy of the report
Typically though, you should expect to receive an electronic copy of your report within 24-48 hours of the survey being conducted and physical copies within 3-5 days.
The survey itself only takes an hour or so to complete so it essentially all depends on how quickly the surveyor can access the property.
Download An Example Homebuyers Report:
Perhaps the best way to gauge whether a Homebuyers report is right for you is to look at a genuine report that’s been prepared for a real property.
You can click the link above to see an example homebuyers report, we’ve just changed a few details to protect the privacy of the owner and surveyor who carried out the report.
What Is A Structural Survey?
A Structural Survey is also often called a Building Survey.
Although there are RICS approved versions of the report, these essentially just ensure the presentation of the findings of the report are as easy to understand as possible.
As long as your survey is being conducted by a qualified chartered surveyor, it doesn’t matter too much if you receive a RICS-approved template or not.
Despite being more in-depth than a Homebuyers Survey, a structural or building survey is still non-invasive (the surveyor won’t pull up floorboards or drill into walls).
What is Included In A Structural Survey?
A full structural survey is primarily designed to look at the structural integrity of the building.
That means things that are considered purely aesthetical will not be mentioned.
Instead, a structural survey will cover things such as:
- Evidence of subsidence
- Condition of windows
- Condition of floors
- Condition of the roof
In short, the surveyor will primarily look for signs the property has, or is currently, undergoing movement or any other issues that may need remedial action.
A structural survey or building survey is, therefore, recommended for any properties where there is doubt over the structural condition of the building.
How Much Does A Structural Survey Cost?
Structural surveys are typically a little more expensive than a homebuyers report. On average you’ll be looking at paying upwards of £500.
Don’t forget, you can use our handy tool to find and compare surveyors in your area.
Plus, if you need help deciding which surveyor is best for you, we’ve also published an article on how to choose a chartered surveyor.
How Long Does It Take To Get The Results Of A Structural Survey?
Although it is more in-depth, a structural survey should not take much longer to conduct than a homebuyers report.
The surveyor may need to spend a little more time at the property, but they should still be able to deliver it within 24-48 hours for electronic versions and 3-5 days for physical reports.
However, you should check the estimated delivery time with your chosen surveyor as it will depend again on their workload and how quickly they can get access to the property.
Download An Example Structural Survey:
Perhaps the best way to gauge whether a structural survey is right for you is to look at a genuine report that’s been prepared for a real property.
You can click the link above to see an example structural survey, we’ve just changed a few details to protect the privacy of the owner and surveyor who carried out the report.
So, What’s The Difference Between A Homebuyers Report And A Structural Survey?
So, that brings us to end the of this article, by now you should better understand the difference between a homebuyers report and structural survey.
Just remember that a homebuyers report is a general health check for a property, whereas a structural or building survey is a detailed check on the structure of the building.
Homebuyers reports are slightly cheaper, but, if they end up highlighting potential structural issues, you may need to conduct a structural survey too.
Whichever type of survey you decide to go for, you can find and compare chartered surveyors here.