Home Survey Level 2 Reports, previously known as HomeBuyer Reports, are a popular, mid-priced survey choice for residential properties built after 1800, with the option of including a valuation.

Home buyers need no reminding of the high cost of buying property in the UK. The average house price in our area of south-east England is now in excess of £430,000. In fact, The Times reports that there are at least 500,000 UK properties worth over £1million.

Home buyers are always likely to have their budgets stretched when they move, and surveys can seem like an unwelcome extra cost. A home buyer report, specifically a RICS Home Survey Level 2 Report, is a sensible choice which avoids the expense of a full Building Survey, but still offers plenty of information about your prospective property purchase.

Want to find out more about the differences between a building survey and homebuyer report? We’ve put together this simple infographic to help you understand.

A street in sussex with houses

What is a Home Survey Level 2 Report?

A Home Survey Level 2 is one of three different levels of home buyers survey set out by RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). The three types of RICS survey are:

  • Level 1 (Previously known as a Condition Report) – overview of condition of property based on visual inspection
  • Level 2 (Previously known as a HomeBuyer Report) – closer internal and external inspection, with report on significant visible defects and can include the option of a valuation
  • Level 3 (Previously known as a Building Survey) – in-depth inspection and detailed report, with information on repairs, defects and risks.

Why choose a home buyers Home Survey Level 2 Report?

In terms of cost, a Level 2 Report sits between a Condition Report and a Building Survey. It is also in the middle ground for detail. A Level 2 survey is generally appropriate for homes which are:

  • built after 1800
  • built from standard materials in a standard construction
  • in good condition

Older houses deserve further investigation to explore possible defects, as do any buildings constructed from materials other than brick and roof tiles, such as older timber-framed and thatched homes. In such cases, we recommend a Level 3 Report as we do for particularly large or expensive houses.

Remember, the main purpose of a home buyers survey is to give you information about the condition of the building, so that you are aware of possible future costs for repairs and improvements. In other words, a survey provides essential information about what is likely to be the largest financial transaction in most people’s lives.

A housing estate across an open field

What do you get from a Home Survey Level 2 Report?

To complete a RICS Level 2 survey, a qualified Robinson Elliott surveyor will:

  • inspect the building, inside and out
  • report on the type of construction
  • report on significant visible defects

The home buyers survey includes an examination of all parts of the property which are accessible. We will go into the loft and inspect the roof structure. Floorboards and carpets are not lifted, and there is no moving of heavy furniture or removing of panels and hatches. We will also report on repair and maintenance issues.

There is also the option of adding a valuation section. The importance of the valuation is that it tells you about:

  • the market value of the property
  • any legal issues
  • reinstatement (rebuilding) costs for insurance purposes

How does a home buyers Home Survey Level 2 Report show defects in a building?

Clear visible defects will be highlighted in your report, subject to the scope of the survey. To make sure that reports are clear, at Robinson Elliott we have been using a traffic light system to categorise defects. RICS now requires all surveys to use a system with the following colours, numbers and meanings:


Red light defects are serious and need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.


Amber light defects need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be serious or urgent. The property must be maintained in the normal way.


A green light shows that no repair is currently needed. The property must be maintained in the normal way.


Not inspected – if any element cannot be inspected it is reported as NI.

In our report, we note if we’re unable to check any parts of the property that the inspection would normally cover. If we’re concerned, we’ll advise you about any further investigations that could be carried out, though we don’t recommend how repairs should be carried out or tell you how much it might cost.

For more information on defects revealed by surveyors, see our blog on Five Common Issues in House Surveys.

Do Home Buyers Surveys affect property prices?

Theoretically, properties come to market at a price which takes account of their condition. However, a report which highlights defects can provide buyers with scope for negotiation. Certainly, as a buyer, you should be clear about paying a fair price for a property, taking into account the costs of any essential repairs.

On the other side of the coin, a home survey which finds no problems means sellers can resist requests to reduce their price. Surveys help buyers and sellers to establish a fair price for the property.

See more about what to do after a bad house survey.

brown and red brick building with a grey wooden door

What are the alternatives to a home survey?

There is no legal obligation to have a survey, and according to What Mortgage around 12% of properties are sold in the UK without one. There is of course a significant risk in buying a home without a survey of any kind, and, if there is a mortgage on the property, lenders will invariably insist on one.

The lowest cost RICS alternative to a Home Survey Level 2 Report is a Level 1 Report. This professional report gives buyers a view of the condition of the property, based on a visual inspection of the interior and exterior. It covers windows, lofts, exposed floors, services, permanent outbuildings and grounds. The report does not cover repairs, and is designed for newer homes which are in good condition.

The most expensive and most thorough RICS home buyers survey is the Home Survey Level 3 Report.

After carrying out a detailed inspection, our surveyors provide a complete report on the property. The report will include information on repairs and improvements, as well as reporting on possible hidden defects, and any risks to the building, grounds and people at the property. An in-depth Level 3 survey is generally undertaken for older, larger and higher value buildings.

How much does a home survey report cost?

At Robinson Elliott, we provide Home Buyer Reports for many different types of property in Sussex, Kent, Surrey and South London, ranging from country cottages and barn conversions to modern town houses and many different types of apartments.

We perform all home buyer surveys to our exacting standards, and take full account of the nature of each specific property. As such there is no fixed cost for a HomeBuyer Report, but prices begin in the region of £600, and an extra £200 for a valuation. Find out more about the different types of home surveys and how much they cost here.

If you would like to find out more about the cost of a Home Buyer Report, contact one of our qualified Chartered Surveyors at Robinson Elliott.



With extensive experience in all types of property and areas in the South East of England, a Home Survey from Robinson Elliott Chartered Surveyors can help ensure your property will be safe and in a good state of repair, and that you are paying the right price for your new home. 

To find out more get in touch with Robinson Elliott Chartered Surveyors today to discuss surveys for your property.


  • Thank you again for your very thorough and helpful report. it will become the backbone of our efforts to maintain the house in the coming months and years, hopefully, if all goes well.

  • Just to let you know we have completed on Sheridan Place and are moving in at the weekend. Your survey is proving very useful as we commence the repairs and improvements etc. Thanks again for a job well done.

  • Thank you. It was nice to meet you and have a chat. I like the fact that you give clients verbal feedback following your survey, a nice personal touch and very useful.