Are There Any Better Alternatives to the RICS HomeBuyer Report?

By James Brook FRICS on and updated on

If you don’t want to waste money on a property that needs a repair job worth thousands, you should consider getting a property survey report.

It’s something that only 20% of property hunters do despite the fact that all properties – even new-builds – are generally hiding defects.

A level 2 property survey is usually the most appropriate survey for a more modern property in reasonable condition with few alterations. For over two decades, the RICS HomeBuyer Report has been the standard level 2 property survey.

Now, we’re introducing a new, equally priced level 2 property survey that’s fully RICS compliant – it just includes more information and comes with plenty of added benefits.

HomeBuyer vs HomeLevel: The new RICS compliant level 2 property survey

The bespoke HomeLevel Report goes further than the HomeBuyer report without missing any of the same information. Both surveys highlight defects and provide advice on anything urgent or dangerous.

But the HomeLevel Report has been designed specifically with the modern property hunter’s needs in mind. It’s more in-depth but much easier to understand thanks to its clear traffic light rating of each individual defect. Even though it gives you more, it’s carried out using the latest technology, allowing us to gather data and perform inspections more efficiently than ever before.

Essentially, compared to the HomeBuyer Report, the HomeLevel Report is more detailed, intuitive and relevant in today’s market.

HomeBuyer vs HomeLevel: how they stack up

We’ll explain the differences between HomeBuyer and HomeLevel in more detail later. Here’s an overview of what’s included in each:

RICS HomeBuyer ReportHomeLevel Survey
CostStarting Price £500+Starting Price £500+
For houses built after 1970 and flats built after 1950,
in a reasonable condition, worth less than £1,000,000
A visual inspection of all accessible areas to assess
the condition of the building
Identifies issues that require repair of further
Free expert verbal advice and after-care following
the survey
Covers a minimum of 20 internal and external
elements in the property.
Visual asbestos inspectionNoYes
Energy efficiency adviceNoYes
Each defect traffic light ratedNoYes

So, how are all those added extras at no extra cost a benefit to you?

Visual asbestos inspection

Many homeowners are unaware that their property contains asbestos. However, asbestos remains prevalent in many homes, especially those built during or before the 1930s. The use of asbestos wasn’t actually banned until 1999. So, even if you’re looking at a relatively new property, it’s worth checking whether it’s safe.

The HomeLevel Survey includes a specific section on asbestos and other hazardous materials as standard. Often it can only be confirmed that asbestos is present by having a licenced contractor test the materials, but we will highlight any elements we believe may contain the hazardous materials.

  • Find out whether your home is safe
  • Determine if you need a certified specialist to remove asbestos and understand the kind of costs involved
  • Negotiate a reduced asking price if asbestos removal is necessary.

Energy efficiency advice

When purchasing a home, you need to consider more than just the purchase price when totalling up how much you’ll need to spend to live there. How much will your new property cost to heat? When compiling a standard Level 2 HomeBuyer Report, your RICS surveyor will check your utilities are functional. They may recommend hiring a certified plumber or electrician if something’s amiss.

However, the HomeLevel Report also contains information regarding energy efficiency. We’ll examine the property’s insulation and more.

  • Find out whether a property is environmentally friendly
  • Understand how much you’ll likely have to pay to heat your home
  • Gauge how much it might cost to boost your home’s energy efficiency

Straightforward traffic light system

Both the HomeBuyer and HomeLevel report use a traffic light system to rate defects in terms of severity. However, the HomeBuyer only provides an overall rating for each section which can be confusing if only a small part requires repairs whilst the rest is okay. To tackle this the HomeLevel is much more detailed as each individual defect is traffic light rated to help you understand the severity of every issue. This makes the report easy to understand for the property hunter, the seller, and any third parties involved, such as developers and lawyers.

The HomeLevel Report is new and bespoke. It’s more detailed than the HomeBuyer alternative, but much easier to understand.

Digital reports delivered in just a few days

Typically, because of its age, the HomeBuyer Report is compiled using pen and paper. RICS Surveyors follow a strict checklist set out by RICS to create your report. But this often takes time.

Powered by GoReport, the bespoke HomeLevel Report is compiled using a smartphone or tablet. It not only increases efficiency, enabling us to work faster, but also reduces the risk of errors and increases the level of detail we can record. Better still, we can digitally deliver your report within a few days.

Are there any other property surveys available?

Level 2 property surveys are affordable and suitable for relatively modern homes with few modifications. But if you intend to extensively renovate a property or purchase a home in desperate need of repair, you might want to choose the Full Building Survey, the most detailed property survey of all. It comes with photos and cost-estimates for specific repairs. It also includes a mortgage valuation and lots of advice.

Learn more about the Full Building Survey.

Order your HomeLevel report today

At Novello Chartered Surveyors, we believe that the HomeLevel is the obvious choice for anybody who needs a Level 2 property survey. It’s more information-packed, relevant in today’s market and intuitive than the HomeBuyer, despite being the same price.

Learn more about HomeLevel, why it’s becoming increasingly sought-after, and how we can deliver a comprehensive report to your inbox within just a few days.

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