Description of the RICS HomeBuyer (Survey &
The RICS HomeBuyer (Survey & Valuation) Service includes:
• an inspection of the property (see ‘The inspection’)
• a report based on the inspection (see ‘The report’)
• a valuation which is part of the report (see ‘The Valuation’).
The surveyor who provides the RICS HomeBuyer Service (Survey) aims to give you
professional advice to help you to:
• make an informed decision on whether to go ahead with buying the property
• make an informed decision on what is a reasonable price to pay for the property
• take account of any repairs or replacements the property needs; and
• consider what further advice you should take before committing to purchase the property.
The surveyor inspects the inside and outside of the main building and all permanent outbuildings,
but does not force or open up the fabric. This means that the surveyor does not take up carpets,
floor coverings or floorboards, move furniture, remove the contents of cupboards, roof spaces, etc.,
remove secured panels and/or hatches or undo electrical fittings.
If necessary, the surveyor carries out parts of the inspection when standing at ground level from
public property next door where accessible.
The surveyor may use equipment such as a damp-meter, binoculars and torch, and may use a
ladder for flat roofs and for hatches no more than 3 metres above level ground (outside) or floor
surfaces (inside) if it is safe to do so.
Services to the property
Services are generally hidden within the construction of the property. This means that only the visible
parts of the available services can be inspected, and the surveyor does not carry out specialist tests.
The visual inspection cannot assess the efficiency or safety of electrical, gas or other energy sources;
plumbing, heating or drainage installations (or whether they meet current regulations); or the inside
condition of any chimney, boiler or other flue.
Outside the property
The surveyor inspects the condition of boundary walls, fences, permanent outbuildings and areas
in common (shared) use. To inspect these areas, the surveyor walks around the grounds and any
neighbouring public property where access can be obtained.
Buildings with swimming pools and sports facilities are also treated as permanent outbuildings,
but the surveyor does not report on the leisure facilities, such as the pool itself and its equipment,
landscaping and other facilities (for example, tennis courts and temporary outbuildings).
When inspecting flats, the surveyor assesses the general condition of outside surfaces of the
building, as well as its access areas (for example, shared hallways and staircases). The surveyor
inspects roof spaces only if they are accessible from within the property. The surveyor does not
inspect drains, lifts, fire alarms and security systems.
Dangerous materials, contamination and environmental issues
The surveyor does not make any enquiries about contamination or other environmental dangers.
However, if the surveyor suspects a problem, he or she should recommend a further investigation.
The surveyor may assume that no harmful or dangerous materials have been used in the
construction, and does not have a duty to justify making this assumption. However, if the inspection
shows that these materials have been used, the surveyor must report this and ask for further
The surveyor does not carry out an asbestos inspection and does not act as an asbestos inspector
when inspecting properties that may fall within the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. With flats,
the surveyor assumes that there is a ‘dutyholder’ (as defined in the regulations), and that in place are
an asbestos register and an effective management plan which does not present a significant risk to
health or need any immediate payment. The surveyor does not consult the dutyholder.
The surveyor produces a report of the inspection for you to use, but cannot accept any liability if
it is used by anyone else. If you decide not to act on the advice in the report, you do this at your
own risk. The report focuses on matters that, in the surveyor’s opinion, may affect the value of the
property if they are not addressed.
The report is in a standard format and includes the following sections.
A Introduction to the report
B About the inspection
C Overall opinion and summary of the condition ratings
D About the property
E Outside the property
F Inside the property
H Grounds (including shared areas for flats)
I Issues for your legal advisers
L Surveyor’s declaration
What to do now
Description of the RICS HomeBuyer (Survey & Valuation) Service
Typical house diagram
Description of the RICS HomeBuyer (Survey & Valuation) Service 3
RICS Home Surveys
The surveyor gives condition ratings to the main parts (the ‘elements’) of the main building, garage
and some outside elements. The condition ratings are described as follows.
Condition rating 3 – defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated
Condition rating 2 – defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be either
serious or urgent. The property must be maintained in the normal way.
Condition rating 1 – no repair is currently needed. The property must be maintained in the
NI – not inspected.
The surveyor notes in the report if it was not possible to check any parts of the property that the
inspection would normally cover. If the surveyor is concerned about these parts, the report tells you
about any further investigations that are needed.
The surveyor does not report on the cost of any work to put right defects or make recommendations
on how these repairs should be carried out. However, there is general advice in the ‘What to do now’
section at the end of the report.
The surveyor has not prepared the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) as part of the RICS
HomeBuyer Service for the property. If the surveyor has seen the current EPC, he or she will present
the energy-efficiency and environmental impact ratings in this report. The surveyor does not check
the ratings and cannot comment on their accuracy.
Issues for legal advisers
The surveyor does not act as ‘the legal adviser’ and does not comment on any legal documents. If,
during the inspection, the surveyor identifies issues that your legal advisers may need to investigate
further, the surveyor may refer to these in the report (for example, check whether there is a warranty
covering replacement windows).
This report has been prepared by a surveyor (‘the Individual Surveyor’) merely in his or her capacity
as an employee or agent of a firm or company or other business entity (‘the Company’). The report
is the product of the Company, not of the Individual Surveyor. All of the statements and opinions
contained in this report are expressed entirely on behalf of the Company, which accepts sole
responsibility for these. For his or her part, the Individual Surveyor assumes no personal financial
responsibility or liability in respect of the report and no reliance or inference to the contrary should be
In the case of sole practitioners, the surveyor may sign the report in his or her own name unless the
surveyor operates as a sole trader limited liability company.
Nothing in this report excludes or limits liability for death or personal injury (including disease and
impairment of mental condition) resulting from negligence.
This section summarises defects and issues that present a risk to the building or grounds, or a safety
risk to people. These may have been reported and condition rated against more than one part of
the property or may be of a more general nature, having existed for some time and which cannot
reasonably be changed.
If the property is leasehold, the surveyor gives you general advice and details of questions you
should ask your legal advisers.
The surveyor gives an opinion on both the market value of the property and the reinstatement cost at
the time of the inspection (see the ‘Reinstatement cost’ section).
‘Market value’ is the estimated amount for which an asset or liability should exchange on the
valuation date between a willing buyer and a willing seller in an arm’s length transaction, after proper
marketing wherein the parties had each acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion’
When deciding on the market value, the surveyor also makes the following assumptions.
The materials, construction, services, fixtures and fittings, and so on
The surveyor assumes that:
• an inspection of those parts that have not yet been inspected would not identify significant defects
• no dangerous or damaging materials or building techniques have been used in the property
• there is no contamination in or from the ground, and the ground has not been used as landfill
• the property is connected to, and has the right to use, the mains services mentioned in the report
• the valuation does not take account of any furnishings, removable fittings and sales incentives of
The surveyor assumes that:
• the property is sold with ‘vacant possession’ (your legal advisers can give you more information on
• the condition of the property, or the purpose that the property is or will be used for, does not break
• no particularly troublesome or unusual restrictions apply to the property, that the property is not
affected by problems which would be revealed by the usual legal enquiries and that all necessary
planning and Building Regulations permissions (including permission to make alterations) have
been obtained and any works undertaken comply with such permissions; and
• the property has the right to use the mains services on normal terms, and that the sewers, mains
services and roads giving access to the property have been ‘adopted’ (that is, they are under
local-authority, not private, control).
The surveyor reports any more assumptions that have been made or found not to apply. If the
property is leasehold, the general advice referred to earlier explains what other assumptions the
surveyor has made.
Reinstatement cost is the cost of rebuilding an average home of the type and style inspected
to its existing standard using modern materials and techniques and in line with current Building
Regulations and other legal requirements.
This includes the cost of rebuilding any garage, boundary or retaining walls and permanent
outbuildings, and clearing the site. It also includes professional fees, but does not include VAT
(except on fees).
The reinstatement cost helps you decide on the amount of buildings insurance cover you will need
for the property.
Standard terms of engagement
1 The service – the surveyor provides the standard RICS HomeBuyer (Survey & Valuation) Service
(‘the service’) described in the ‘Description of the RICS HomeBuyer (Survey & Valuation) Service’,
unless you and the surveyor agree in writing before the inspection that the surveyor will provide
extra services. Any extra service will require separate terms of engagement to be entered into with
the surveyor. Examples of extra services include:
• costing of repairs
• schedules of works
• supervision of works
• detailed specific issue reports; and
• market valuation (after repairs).
2 The surveyor – the service is to be provided by an AssocRICS, MRICS or FRICS member of the
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, who has the skills, knowledge and experience to survey,
value and report on the property and is a member of the RICS Valuer Registration Scheme.
3 Before the inspection – you tell the surveyor if there is already an agreed or proposed price
for the property and if you have any particular concerns (such as plans for extension) about the
4 Terms of payment – you agree to pay the surveyor’s fee and any other charges agreed in
5 Cancelling this contract – nothing in this clause 5 shall operate to exclude, limit or otherwise
affect your rights to cancel under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and
Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 or the Consumer Rights Act 2015, or under any such other
legislation as may from time to time be applicable. Entirely without prejudice to any other rights
that you may have under any applicable legislation, you are entitled to cancel this contract in
writing by giving notice to the surveyor’s office at any time before the day of the inspection, and
in any event within fourteen days of entering into this contract. Please note that where you have
specifically requested that the surveyor provides services to you within fourteen days of entering
into the contract, you will be responsible for fees and charges incurred by the surveyor up until
the date of cancellation.
6 Liability – the report is provided for your use, and the surveyor cannot accept responsibility if it is
used, or relied upon, by anyone else.
6 Description of the RICS HomeBuyer (Survey & Valuation) Service
RICS Home Surveys
Complaints handling procedure
The surveyor will have a complaints handling procedure and will give you a copy if you ask. The
surveyor is required to provide you with contact details, in writing, for their complaints department
or the person responsible for dealing with client complaints. Where the surveyor is party to a redress
scheme, those details should also be provided. If any of this information is not provided, please notify
the surveyor and ask that it be supplied.
Note: These terms form part of the contract between you and the surveyor.
This report is for use in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.