What types of Survey Report are available when buying a property?

In this article we’ll explain the 3 different types of surveys you can get and may help you decide if one is needed and which one to choose.


What are the 3 different types of surveys.


Level 1:  A RICS Level 1 Survey, also previously known as a Condition report or RICS Condition report is the most basic of the three surveys. It’s designed for home buyers or homeowners who are seeking a professional and objective report on the condition of a property.  A RICS Level 1 Survey is best suited to conventionally built, modern properties – not older, complex or neglected properties.

As part of the report the surveyor will do a visual inspection of the property but will not do any tests on the property such as electrics, plumbing, heating.


Level 2: A RICS level 2 survey is also known as a Homebuyers report. This is one of the most popular surveys you can get and provides an in-depth analysis of the condition of the property.

It includes an inspection of both visible and non-visible defects within the property, and where there are concealed areas such as a roof space or basement these areas will be checked where it is safe to do so.

The report will also include advice on repairs and any maintenance that should be carried out to ensure the property remains in good condition.

The report is done in a traffic light system of green, amber or red depending on the severity of the condition of specific area in the property.


Level 3:  The RICS level 3 report is normally chosen if dealing with a large, older or run-down property, a building that is unusual or altered, or if major works are planned. It is the most extensive survey and costs more because it gives detailed information about the structure and fabric of the property.


The service includes a comprehensive detailed visual inspection of the building, its services and the grounds and provides more extensive details than a Level 2 Survey. Although the services aren’t tested, they are observed in normal operation. For example, they’re switched on or off and/or operated where the occupier has given permission and it’s safe to do so.


The report will describe the form of construction and materials used for different parts of the property. It’ll also describe the condition and provides an assessment of the relative importance of any defects or problems. It will:

  • Outline any remedial work and explain the likely consequences of non-repair.
  • Make general recommendation in respect of the priority and likely time scales for necessary work and gives an indication of likely costs.
  • Describes the risk of potential or hidden defects in areas that have not been inspected and describes the probable causes of the defects.


What is the cost for each one and what are the benefits of having one?

It can help you as a potential buyer decide if the property is a good investment and to understanding what work may need doing and at what cost.

It can also be used to re-negotiate the original purchase price of the property by justifying the work which is needed.

Each survey depends on different factors such as the value or size of the property, however typically a Level 1 survey costs £300 – £400 + VAT.  A Level 2 costs between £400 – £800 + VAT. A Level 3 survey between £900 – £1,200 + VAT.


If you are thinking of having a survey done, it’s a good idea to speak with your qualified mortgage broker as your mortgage lender may be able to provide you with a survey or you can arrange this privately by visiting the RICS website to find a qualified surveyor within your area –



If this has got you thinking, we’d be delighted to help.  Get in touch and we’ll be help you understand what’s possible, or sign up to our monthly newsletter, to keep your finger on the pulse.


Will Sproule – 12th July 2023

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